This is why Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky continues to plead with the West for more weapons. President Biden and leaders of both parties in Congress are backing a $40 billion package that the House passed and the Senate looks set to pass soon. Much of Europe has also aligned strongly with Ukraine; Sweden and Finland have decided in recent days to join NATO.
Still, Putin’s new slowdown strategy could succeed, especially if the West finally tires of helping Ukraine. In the US, many pro-Trump Republicans are already skeptical of the war: Tucker Carlson makes the case on his Fox News show, and 57 House Republicans voted against the $40 billion aid package.
On the other hand, Russia is facing its own domestic challenges: sanctions are hurting its economy and the industrial sector – which cannot easily import parts – is struggling to manufacture enough precision weapons, said Julian.
Russia also lacks troops available to fight. Putin could increase these numbers by instituting a project. But that would force him to acknowledge that the war in Ukraine is, in fact, a war rather than a modest operation as he has portrayed it – probably because he knows public support is weak.
“As things stand, Russian options are shrinking,” wrote Michael Kofman of CNA, a Washington research group, recently. “The more they drag their feet, the worse their ability to sustain war deteriorates, and the worse their options are later.”
For now, Lt. Gen. Scott Berrier, a senior US intelligence official, told Congress: “The Russians aren’t winning, and the Ukrainians aren’t winning.
Related: Even if Russia continues to struggle, the West’s endgame is not so simple, says Times Opinion’s Ross Douthat.