This is why Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky continues to beg the West for more weapons. President Biden and leaders of both parties in Congress support a $40 billion package that the House has passed and the Senate seems likely to pass soon. Much of Europe has also strongly aligned itself with Ukraine; Sweden and Finland have recently taken action to join NATO.
Still, Putin’s new slowdown strategy may succeed, especially if the West gets tired of helping Ukraine. Many Trump-friendly Republicans in the US they are already skeptical of war: Tucker Carlson made this case on Fox News, and 57 Republicans voted against the $40 billion aid package.
Russia, on the other hand, faces its own internal problems: Sanctions are hurting its economy, and the industrial sector, which can’t easily import parts, is struggling to make enough precision weapons, Julian said.
Russia is also reducing its combat-ready troops. Putin can increase these numbers by creating a draft. But doing so would require him to admit that the war in Ukraine was actually a war rather than the modest operation it portrays—probably because he knew popular support was soft.
“As it stands, the Russian options are shrinking,” wrote Michael Kofman of the Washington research group CNA recently. “The more they drag their feet, the worse their ability to continue the fight and the worse their next option.”
“The Russians are not winning and the Ukrainians are not winning,” Lieutenant General Scott Berrier, a senior US intelligence official, told Congress for now.
Related: Times Opinion’s Ross Douthat explains that even as Russia continues to struggle, the end of the West is not so simple.