Turkish President Recep Erdogan (L) and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (R) with President Biden & NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg (C), NATO Summit, Vilnius,July 11, 2023
The NATO Summit in Vilnius (July 11-12) signalled that there is absolutely no possibility of talks to settle the Ukraine war in a foreseeable future. The war will only intensify, as the US and its allies still hope to inflict a military defeat on Russia although that is clearly beyond their capability.
On July 14, Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of US joint chiefs of staff said that Ukraine’s counteroffensive is “far from a failure” but the fight ahead will be “long” and “bloody”. Milley has a reputation for speaking what the White House wants to hear, no matter his professional judgment.
Indeed, on July 19, the Biden administration announced additional security assistance of about $1.3 billion for Ukraine. The Pentagon said in a statement that the announcement “represents the beginning of a contracting process to provide additional priority capabilities to Ukraine.” That is to say, the US will be using funds in its Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative program, which allows the administration to buy weapons from industry rather than pull from US weapons stocks.
According to the Pentagon, the latest package includes four National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS) and munitions; 152 mm artillery rounds; mine clearing equipment; and drones.
Meanwhile, in an ominous development, no sooner than Russia let the UN-brokered grain deal expire on July 17, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky disclosed that he had sent official letters to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan suggesting to continue the grain deal without Russia’s participation.
On the very next day, Kiev followed up with an official letter to the UN’s International Maritime Organization spelling out a new maritime corridor passing through Romania’s territorial waters and exclusive maritime economic zone in the north-western part of the Black Sea.
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