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Top U.S. spy agency says more security assistance from allies is crucial for Ukraine to prevail

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Members of Ukraine’s 95th Air Assault Brigade defend an area near the front line of fighting on Jan. 12, 2023, outside Kremina, Ukraine.

Spencer Platt | Getty Images News | Getty Images

WASHINGTON – The director of America’s top spy agency described Russia’s war in Ukraine as a “grinding conflict” that will require the West to continue to provide security assistance packages in order for Kyiv to prevail.

U.S. Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria during a panel discussion at the World Economic Forum that both Ukrainian and Russian militaries are facing significant challenges but the war had not reached a stalemate.

“It’s not a stalemate but really, a grinding conflict where quite literally, we’re talking about hundreds of meters being fought over in the context of the frontlines,” Haines said in Davos, Switzerland.

“It will be extremely important for Ukraine to receive essential military assistance and economic assistance moving forward in order for them to be able to continue to manage what they have been heroically doing,” she added.

The U.S. has contributed the lion’s share of security assistance to the fight. Last week, U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin announced one of the largest weapons packages since Russia’s full-scale invasion began nearly a year ago.

Austin said the latest package of U.S. military equipment bound for Ukraine is valued at $2.5 billion and will help “meet Ukraine’s most urgent battlefield needs.”

The upcoming military assistance, the 30th such tranche, brings U.S. commitment to Ukraine’s fight to more than $26 billion since the beginning of the Biden administration.

Ukrainian serviceman holds a Next Generation Light Anti-armour Weapon (NLAW) on the position not far from the front line in the south of Kharkiv region, on July 11, 2022, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Anatolii Stepanov | Afp | Getty Images

“Weapons are the way to peace,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said alongside Haines. “That may sound like a paradox but the only way to have a negotiated agreement is to convince President [Vladimir] Putin that they will not win on the battlefield and he has to sit down and negotiate.”

Stoltenberg added that Ukraine’s battle has the full force of the 30-member NATO alliance because it is a “fight for democracy.” He said that “it is extremely important that President Putin doesn’t win this war, it will be a tragedy for Ukrainians, but also very dangerous for all of us.”

Polish President Andrzej Duda said that the West needs to do more to support Ukraine, adding that assistance from allies “is still not enough.”

“Ukraine needs more of our effort, needs more of our aid and we should mobilize ourselves to help them because their situation is really difficult,” he said, adding that the war is approaching a crucial moment.


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