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Ukraine’s Money Cliff

Even if Congress reaches a deal early next year and aid begins to flow again, the days of a new Ukraine supplemental getting passed every couple months are long gone.
Even if Congress reaches a deal early next year and aid begins to flow again, the days of a new Ukraine supplemental getting passed every couple months are long gone. Photo: Dmytro Larin/Getty Images
Julia Ioffe
December 19, 2023

Last week, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s whirlwind trip to Washington, a Hail Mary attempt to get more funding for his country’s war against Russia, landed with a thud. It was not for lack of assistance from the White House: On the day of Zelensky’s visit, the Biden administration declassified data on how well Ukraine was doing in the war, how many Russian soldiers it had killed or maimed (315,000), and how many Russian tanks it had destroyed or captured (2,200). “Russia has lost 87 percent of its pre-war forces,” a Democratic Senate intel staffer told me that day. “These are eye-popping numbers.”

The much-anticipated spring offensive may have failed, and the commander of the Ukrainian armed forces may have labeled the war a stalemate, but the administration was clearly at pains to push out a different story. “The other thing this analysis concludes is that [the war] has set the Russian army back 15 years,” the staffer added. “So for very little financial cost to a very rich country, and with no American boots on the ground, we’ve set Russia back 15 years.” Everyone, after all, loves to back a winner.