Ukraine War, September 17, 2022: Biden remains fearful of Putin, maintaining restrictions on types of weapons and their use; Washington supplies weapons to keep Ukraine in the fight but not to win

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To see a list of previous articles, enter “Ukraine” in the Search Box on the upper right, on The Trenchant Observer web site, and you will see a list in chronological order.

Dispatches

1) David E. Sanger, Anton Troianovski, Julian E. Barnes, and Eric Schmitt, “Ukraine Wants the U.S. to Send More Powerful Weapons. Biden Is Not So Sure; President Biden wants to avoid provoking Russia at a moment when American officials fear Vladimir V. Putin could escalate the war to compensate for recent losses, New York Times, September 17, 2022 (Updated 1:57 p.m. ET);

2) “Putin’s ‘red lines’and our ‘red lines’,” Trenchant Observations, September 17, 2022;

3) “Ukraine War, March 11, 2022 (II): Putin’s brilliant success in implanting fear in Joe Biden’s mind–‘If you fight me, One, Two, Three, World War III,'” The Trenchant Observer, March 11, 2022;

4) Clemens Wergin, “Russia can hardly free itself from this trap; Parallel to the lightning offensive in the north, the Ukrainian army also isolated the Russian troops in the south. Putin’s soldiers are now at risk of being annihilated there. You have only two options,” Die Welt, September 17, 2022;

Wergin provides perhaps the best overview of the military situation today.

The English translation is from the website.

Analysis

Sanger et. al. describe current White House policy and thinking on supplying Ukraine with longer-range missiles and rockets, as follows:

Colin H. Kahl, under secretary of defense for policy, said in a statement to The New York Times on Friday that “Ukraine’s success on the battlefield could cause Russia to feel backed into a corner, and that is something we must remain mindful of.”

But he said that while the United States is committed to providing Ukraine with the equipment it needs to counter Russian aggression, the Pentagon has assessed that Ukraine does not need the ATACMS for “targets that are directly relevant to the current fight.”

Critics say the military aid that the West has provided until now has been enough for Ukraine to stay in the fight but not to win.

The troubles facing Mr. Putin — from mounting criticism to the Ukrainian military strength — mean that his escalation calculus could change.

That has made the decision on longer-range weaponry particularly difficult.

The recent rhetoric out of Russia may well be designed to make the United States think twice about the ATACMS. The missiles would allow Ukraine to strike deeper into Russia or Crimea. Mr. Zelensky has vowed to take back the peninsula, and has carried out stunning attacks against Russian targets there in recent weeks.

So, Putin’s latest “red lines” argument has apparently reinforced Biden’s fear of provoking Putin.

Putin’s threats of nuclear war seem to be still be working. “One, two three, World War III.”

The U.S. wants to keep fighting Russia down to the last Ukrainian soldier, but not provide the country the weapons and other military aid it needs to defeat the Russian aggressors, i.e., not enough to win the war and secure “victory”.

The Trenchant Observer

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1) By David E. Sanger, Anton Troianovski, Julian E. Barnes, and Eric Schmitt, “Ukraine Wants the U.S. to Send More Powerful Weapons. Biden Is Not So Sure; President Biden wants to avoid provoking Russia at a moment when American officials fear Vladimir V. Putin could escalate the war to compensate for recent losses, New York Times, September 17, 2022 (Updated 1:57 p.m. ET);

Colin H. Kahl, under secretary of defense for policy, said in a statement to The New York Times on Friday that “Ukraine’s success on the battlefield could cause Russia to feel backed into a corner, and that is something we must remain mindful of.”

But he said that while the United States is committed to providing Ukraine with the equipment it needs to counter Russian aggression, the Pentagon has assessed that Ukraine does not need the ATACMS for “targets that are directly relevant to the current fight.”

Critics say the military aid that the West has provided until now has been enough for Ukraine to stay in the fight but not to win.

The troubles facing Mr. Putin — from mounting criticism to the Ukrainian military strength — mean that his escalation calculus could change.

That has made the decision on longer-range weaponry particularly difficult.

The recent rhetoric out of Russia may well be designed to make the United States think twice about the ATACMS. The missiles would allow Ukraine to strike deeper into Russia or Crimea. Mr. Zelensky has vowed to take back the peninsula, and has carried out stunning attacks against Russian targets there in recent weeks.

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