“Russia will feel it when our counterattack comes.” The warning of President Volodymyr Zelensky, who has now completed diplomatic preparations for the long-awaited Ukrainian counter-offensive.
His whirlwind Allies tour, which ended this weekend in Hiroshima, Japan, has paid dividends. After all, they accepted the logic of his demands for modern military aircraft.
They won’t be there for months, maybe even this year, but the significance is huge. The West is now among all.
The most recent war in Ukraine. Disgruntled Zelensky says the “warriors” are staying in Bakhmut
Once again, Great Britain has gone ahead on that path. Rishi Sunak’s pledge to begin training the Ukrainians with state-of-the-art fighter jets has prompted others, most notably America, to follow suit.
Never mind that it will take months, and as Sky News reported last week, training hasn’t even started yet.
As with the tanks, the United Kingdom’s initiative turned Washington on its head. Joe Biden allowed the allies train Ukrainians with F16 fighters and for the planes themselves to eventually follow.
This move signals to Moscow that the West is not backing down. “We are not leaving,” Mr Sunak told Sky News Checkers last week.
It G7 summit will be considered as a consequence for moving over planes only.
But also because it shows the unity of the Western bloc more than a year after the conflict many feared would tear it apart, as Vladimir Putin fervently hoped.
It’s all a far cry from the fractious and fractured summits of the Trump era, when allies seemed weak and disunited.
Bakhmut is “not occupied”. Zelensky denies the claim that Russia has taken control of the Ukrainian city.
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That legacy and the political uncertainty in individual nations, especially in Great Britain, led to deep mistrust about the West’s ability to maintain unity at the start of the Russian invasion.
But Joe Biden has ably led the alliance, helping and pushing the UK.
He has not forced the pace, unwilling to arm Ukraine too quickly and mindful of the dangers of alienating dovish allies.
That approach may be justified in the coming months if Ukraine can launch a counteroffensive that will be decisive.
If not, it will be a pity that Kiev was not given the weapons it wanted when it said it needed them.
President Zelensky can fly home confident that he has the support of his allies and has made a huge commitment.
It is too early to tell whether he has also managed to talk ambivalent hedgerows like India and Brazil into backing him.
Its military is supposed to complete its formation operations, identify the enemy’s weaknesses and degrade its logistics.
If effective operations to drive out the invaders begin to follow, he can be reasonably sure that the Airborne Cavalry will be on the way by the end of the year to help finish the job.