Hungary’s Orban could block aid to Ukraine at EU leaders’ meeting

Along with the formal opening of detailed and formal EU membership negotiations, the bloc’s financial aid to Ukraine is important for the country’s long-term prospects and morale as the war drags on, especially as it cools of the United States.

In both the United States and Europe, after the much-vaunted Ukrainian counteroffensive made so little progress, “we both recognized that we had reached the end of the strategy that we have pursued for the last two years,” he said. “Partly through magical thinking, we thought that what we provided them would put them in the strongest possible position to negotiate. But Russia has no interest in negotiations. Our strategy didn’t work and our theory of victory didn’t work.”

Even if the United States distances itself from Ukraine, especially if Donald J. Trump is elected, Tocci said, “Europe cannot afford this luxury.” In Europe “we cannot say: ‘We are tired and please Russia take some more’. “I don’t see Europeans stopping trying to help Ukraine, even if our help is not enough.”

Indeed, Russian President Vladimir V. Putin boasted this week about how Russia will survive a weary West. “The Western strategy was to put Ukraine in a position of strength, giving it more military support, with the expectation that when Russia started to lose it it would ask for negotiations,” said Ulrich Speck, a German analyst. “But Putin now feels in a position of strength, so we have achieved the opposite result.”

The first step of the strategy also failed, he said, with Russia successfully resisting the Ukrainian counteroffensive despite all the Western support. “So this emboldens Russia, because they think this is all the West is willing to give Kiev, and this has already happened,” Speck said. For Moscow, “it seems we have run out of steam with Ukraine, and Putin thinks he is more committed to controlling Ukraine than the West is to helping it.” So Putin has no incentive to negotiate now, if he ever did.