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Wednesday, June 12, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

US says Ukraine is winning war, fuel depots hit in Russia

After a visit to Kyiv, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken pledged more support for Ukraine and said Russia is losing the war. Moscow accused Ukraine of striking fuel depots inside Russia as fighting intensifies after an Orthodox Easter lull.

(CN) — U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin traveled by train to Kyiv on Sunday and pledged more military aid to help Ukraine defeat Russia. 

Following talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Blinken and Austin said Ukraine was winning the war and that Russia’s military and economy have been seriously weakened. 

“The strategy that we’ve put in place – massive support for Ukraine, massive pressure against Russia, solidarity with more than 30 countries engaged in these efforts – is having real results,” Blinken said, speaking to reports in Poland after the Kyiv visit. “And we’re seeing that when it comes to Russia’s war aims, Russia is failing, Ukraine is succeeding.”

He said Russia’s military was “dramatically underperforming,” its economy was “in shambles” and that instead of sowing doubt and division, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion has strengthened NATO.  

“The bottom line is this. We don’t know how the rest of this war will unfold, but we do know that a sovereign, independent Ukraine will be around a lot longer than Vladimir Putin is on the scene,” Blinken added. “And our support for Ukraine going forward will continue. It will continue until we see final success.” 

Ukraine’s military, armed and trained by the West, has proven itself a formidable force on the battlefield and so far has largely held Russian advances in check and even repelled Russian forces seeking to encircle Kyiv. On Sunday, the U.S. pledged about $322 million in weapons and training to Ukraine, bringing U.S. military support to $3.7 billion since Putin launched the invasion on Feb. 24. Blinken also said the U.S. will be reopening its embassy in Kyiv, which he described as returning to normal.  

“We believe that they – we can win – they can win if they have the right equipment, the right support,” Austin said.  “And we’re going to do everything we can – continue to do everything we can to ensure that that gets there.”  

Monday marked the 61st day of a war that continues to escalate and the chances of a ceasefire any time now are very dim with both sides determined for a military victory. There are fears the war will continue for weeks and even months, raising the risks of the use of ever more dirty tactics, including nuclear weapons by Russia, and drawing NATO troops into the war. 

Following the visit by Blinken and Austin, Russia reported that two fuel depots inside its borders were on fire in the city of Bryansk, potentially the result of a Ukrainian attack. Russia also reported that it shot down two Ukrainian drones that had crossed its border in the Kursk region.

Ukraine denied the attacks and alleges Russia is falsely accusing it to stir up domestic support for the war. Then on Monday, Russia claimed it foiled a secret Ukrainian plot to kill a popular pro-Kremlin television personality, Vladimir Solovyov.   

Although Kyiv has denied attacks on Russian territory, it seems that Ukraine is eager to strike inside Russia. U.S. officials have reportedly urged Kyiv to attack Russia. 

This tactic, combined with continued NATO support to Ukraine, is escalating a war that may see a desperate Putin resort to even more brutal tactics in his quest to wrench Ukraine away from the West and seize its territory. 

On Sunday, Russia and Ukraine both celebrated Orthodox Easter and there were fewer reports of attacks and violence. 

But by Monday, any calm induced by Easter was over and there was a slew of fresh reports of deadly shelling on civilians, strikes on railways, intense firefights in eastern Ukraine, the downing of a Russian bomber and renewed efforts to capture or kill Ukrainian forces making a last stand inside a large bunker under a steelworks plant in Mariupol. 

Courthouse News reporter Cain Burdeau is based in the European Union. 

Follow @cainburdeau
Categories / Government, International, Politics

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