WSJ: Some Western Backers of Ukraine Worry That Time Might Be on Russia’s Side

Anatolii Stepanov | Afp | Getty Images (Fair Use)

Behind the decision to sharply step up Western military aid to Ukraine lies a worry in some Western capitals that time might be on Russia’s side. 

That concern suggests the window for Ukraine isn’t indefinite and it needs powerful Western weapons—main battle tanks, other armored vehicles and more air-defense systems—soon to reinforce the momentum it achieved in offensive successes around Kyiv, Kharkiv and Kherson last year.

That is a contrast with the sentiment widespread last spring when Russian troops were on the retreat from Kyiv. With Russian President Vladimir Putin‘s initial war plan in disarray, Western governments at the time were hopeful that the longer the fighting went on, the more likely Ukraine would prevail.

Western officials said that if Europe and Washington kept their nerve and emerged united after a difficult winter, Russia’s economic problems and military failures, deepened by sanctions, could force Moscow to seek an off-ramp in the conflict or sue for peace.

As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine approaches its first anniversary, that confidence has faded. Instead, officials in some capitals now fear the Kremlin, which is willing to keep throwing men and materiel into the war, could gain the upper hand in any lengthy war of attrition.