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A Ukrainian soldier preparing to fire towards Russian troops in the Kharkiv region on May 21, 2024.

POLITICS: Now is the time for Biden to get Russia to stand down in Ukraine

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The time has come to push Moscow to end its war on Ukraine — by supplying Kyiv with the right weapons fast, removing boneheaded restrictions on their use and making clear that Russia simply can’t win.

The alternative: Watch Vladimir Putin and his forces gobble up our ally bit by bit — and then prepare for a far broader Russian-triggered conflict sure to involve NATO and US troops.

Over the past weeks, Russia chalked up some of the largest territorial gains since its invasion of Ukraine, including advances in the country’s northeast and Donbas region.


A Ukrainian soldier preparing to fire towards Russian troops in the Kharkiv region on May 21, 2024. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

Washington can help reverse those gains if it chooses.

And now’s the time to do so.

Last week, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky lamented the costly delays in US military aid, noting that everyone eventually comes to the right decision but about a year late.

It’s “one big step forward,” he said, but “two steps back. So we need to change the paradigm.”

Absolutely right: President Biden’s approach to getting weapons and ammunition to Ukraine has been tragically anemic.

Ukraine also needs US weapons that can make a difference and permission to use them to their full capacity.

Consider: As Russian forces amassed on Ukraine’s border in preparation for its recent offensive, Ukrainian soldiers were prevented from attacking them with US weapons, thanks to restrictions from Team Biden, which fears provoking Putin and escalating the fighting.

It’s beyond insane: Had Ukraine been able to degrade Russian troops before they advanced — using, say, US rocket launchers and long-range missiles — it’s unlikely it would have lost as much ground and as many troops as it did.

Iran and China supply Moscow with military equipment, with no restrictions. Why can’t Biden & Co. do likewise with Ukraine?

Heck, Russia has no qualms even about violating third-country airspace, as it’s done in Poland.

Biden’s fear of escalation and half-hearted backing of Ukraine — National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan admitted the recent aid package was meant merely to let Ukraine “hold the line” — can only prolong the war.

And risk Ukraine’s eventual defeat.

With American weaponry, Ukraine can accomplish far more.

And it has a golden opportunity now: Reports suggest Putin is ready for a cease-fire along current battlefield lines, meaning he’s increasingly reluctant to pay the price, particularly in Russian lives, of continuing.  

Some doubt that, yet extending the fight would require another deeply unpopular mobilization in Russia.

Were Ukraine allowed to fight with an adequate supply of weapons — and no hands tied — it could not only reverse Russian gains, but force a new call-up that enrages the Russian public, pressuring Putin, perhaps, to stand down.

Biden’s limited-aid-with-strings not only misses this critical opportunity; it needlessly costs Ukrainian lives.

If Biden truly wants Ukraine to survive — for its sake, as well as the world’s — he needs to shed his escalation fears and ramp up unrestricted US aid deliveries now.



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