Situation Update: The War in Ukraine

Foreign Policy Brief #104 | By: Ibrahim Castro | December 10, 2023

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Military Aid to Ukraine

An agreement to provide billions of dollars in new military aid to Ukraine has stalled in congress. Republicans blocked a sweeping foreign security assistance bill to provide $110.5 billion in funds for Ukraine and Israel in order to press for more control of immigration via the US southern border with Mexico. At the same time Kyiv has agreed with two American firms to jointly manufacture vital 155mm artillery shells in Ukraine, although production will not start for at least two years. Kyiv and Washington have signed a letter of intent to speed up weapons co-production and data exchange. Ukraine leaders likely hope that the country can become more integrated into the West’s military landscape by promoting joint weapons production and supplies through a common defense industry setting.

Hungary Opposes Ukraine’s Entry Into EU

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has warned EU leaders to keep Ukraine accession talks off the bloc’s agenda at an upcoming summit. Hungary’s ruling party submitted a resolution to parliament calling on the government to not support the start of talks on Ukraine’s accession to the EU. Distrust of Orban has been running high in Brussels after a bitter 13 years in power where the Hungarian leader and EU clashed over the rights of the LGBTQ community and migrants in Hungary, as well as tightening state controls over academics, the courts and media. Additionally Hungary has continued to maintain ties with Moscow, even as the EU has imposed sanctions against Russia. The European Commission currently is withholding nearly 22 billion euros from Hungary over concerns about corruption and perceived backsliding of democratic norms under Orban.

War in Winter

This winter is likely to see a long and bloody stalemate in Ukraine according to analysts, with neither side backing down from offensives and counter offensives. Ukraine launched a major counteroffensive in early June that though it was off to a rather slow start, by some estimates took back half the land Russia had seized earlier in the year. While Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has forsworn any negotiations while Russia sits on Ukrainian soil, Western intelligence assessments warn that battlefield movement could stagnate until well into 2024, bringing the war closer to the frozen conflict that many observers fear plays to Putin’s plans.

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