National Security Advisor: Diplomacy, Not Victory, Is the 'Fundamental Purpose' of Our Strategy in Ukraine

( – The Biden administration has limited what kind of weapons it is sending to Ukraine, to avoid conflict with Russia. But there are no limits on the time it may take for Ukraine, with U.S. and NATO support, to defend its territory, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told reporters on Monday.

Sullivan also said the “fundamental purpose” of the United States assistance is to put Ukraine in the best possible position when the time comes to negotiate an end to the conflict:

“So, we are in near daily contact with Ukrainians on the question of how to both deal with defending against Russian advances and be able to reclaim some of the territory that has been taken from them on a timetable that they are kind of working through. Those conversations are happening in military-to-military channels, and they’re also happening at the political level so we all have a comprehensive understanding.

“I’m not going to read out exactly what the details of those conversations are. I will only say that we believe that the fundamental purpose of our strategy is to put the Ukrainians in as strong a position as possible on the battlefield so that they are in as strong a position as possible at the negotiating table when diplomacy comes.

“And as President Zelenskyy himself has said, ultimately this conflict will have to be pursued through diplomacy. And — and that’s where the — United States’s thrust and purpose. That’s where the — the nature of our policy stands and will go.”


Sullivan said Russia has made some territorial gains in Ukraine, but it has “substantially failed to achieve its strategic objectives in Ukraine.”

“Its strategic objective was to take Kyiv, the capital, to end Ukraine as a country, to eliminate Ukrainian identity from the map and to subsume Ukraine to — within Russia. They have failed at that. Kyiv stands. Kharkiv stands. Odesa stands. The major cities of Ukraine across much of the country are in Ukrainian hands and are being ably and bravely defended by the Ukrainian military with the support of the United States and — and other NATO allies, as well as countries around the world.

“So, when you take a step back and look at the trajectory of this conflict, what Vladimir Putin set out to do, he has failed to do, and he will continue to fail in his ability to achieve his ultimate objectives because of the bravery of the Ukrainian people.

“Now, it is certainly the case that Russia has been able to grind out, kilometer by kilometer, inch by inch, some territory in the east. And the Ukrainians have made Russia pay a dear price for that, and the sanctions have made Russia pay a dear price for that. And we will continue to work with the Ukrainian military and the Ukrainian government on a strategy that ultimately achieves their objectives, both on the battlefield and at the negotiating table.

“And as President Biden said when we were at the NATO summit just ten days ago, we will do that for as long as it takes.”

A reporter asked Sullivan if there is “any limiting principle for the United States in terms of either time or money?”

“Well, first, we’ve imposed limiting principles in terms of exactly the types of systems we are prepared to provide,” Sullivan said.

“But from the point of view of a limiting principle on time, the president was absolutely clear on that. He said as long as it takes. He meant as long as it takes, and that’s where the United States is prepared to stand. And we believe that’s where the broad global coalition of countries supporting Ukraine is prepared to go as well.”

A reporter asked Sullivan if he’s confident that Russia will not be able take Kyiv, even “months, years in the future.”

“So, we do have confidence that the bravery of the Ukrainians and the support of the West to Ukraine will enable Ukraine to effectively defend and sustain its capital,” Sullivan said:

“And I would also point out, when I talked about the severe costs that Russia has had to endure on the battlefield as it tries to grind out territory in the east, this is coming at a cost to the sustainment of its own weapons.

“And I’ll just give you one example before I leave, which is an example that I think is pretty newsworthy and noteworthy. And that is that our end — information indicates that the Iranian government is preparing to provide Russia with up to several hundred UAVs, including weapons-capable UAVs, on an expedite — expedited timeline.

“Our information further indicates that Iran is preparing to train Russian forces to use these UAVs, with initial training sessions slated to begin as soon as early July. It’s unclear whether Iran has delivered any of these UAVs to Russia already. But this is just one example of how Russia is looking to countries like Iran for capabilities that are also being used, I might add, or have been used before we got the ceasefire in place in Yemen, to attack Saudi Arabia.

“So, from our perspective, we will continue to do our part to help sustain the effective defense of Ukraine and to help the Ukrainians show that the Russian effort to try to wipe Ukraine off the map cannot succeed.”

Also See:
Another Provocation: On Eve of Biden’s Mideast Trip, WH Says Iran Will Send Armed Drones to Russia


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