Putin’s New Problems

Putin’s New Problems

That’s why Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, continues to plead with 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 aligned itself strongly with Ukraine; Sweden and Finland have moved in recent days to join NATO.

Still, Putin’s new go-slow strategy could succeed, especially if the West ultimately tires of helping Ukraine. In the U.S., many Trump-friendly Republicans are already skeptical of the war: Tucker Carlson makes this case on his Fox News show, and 57 House Republicans voted against the $40 billion aid package.

On the other hand, Russia faces its own domestic challenges: Sanctions are damaging its economy, and the industrial sector — which cannot easily import parts — is struggling to make enough precision weapons, Julian said.

Russia is also running low on troops who are available to fight. Putin could increase these numbers by instituting a draft. But doing so would require him to acknowledge that the war in Ukraine is, in fact, a war rather than the modest operation he has portrayed it as — probably because he knows public support is soft.

“As it stands, Russian options are shrinking,” Michael Kofman of CNA, a Washington research group, wrote recently. “The more they drag their feet, the further their ability to sustain the war deteriorates, and the worse their subsequent options.”

For now, Lt. Gen. Scott Berrier, a top U.S. 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, Ross Douthat of Times Opinion explains.

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