Three key factors show why the administration needs to press the accelerator pedal on negotiations with Russia now.

by George Beebe, Responsible Statecraft

Three big factors are in motion that will shape prospects for the war in Ukraine. Each of these affects the others in potentially reinforcing ways. Together, they could soon create a dynamic that might greatly constrain the ability of the Biden administration to steer events toward its desired outcomes.

The first is the course of battlefield developments. Bolstered by the mobilization Putin ordered last fall, Russian forces are pressing closer toward encircling Bakhmut, and Ukrainians look to be on the brink of their first significant setback since last summer. Although this battle has proved slow and costly for Russia, it is exacting an enormous toll on Ukraine.

President Joe Biden (R) and Russian President Vladimir Putin meet during the U.S.-Russia summit at Villa La Grange on June 16, 2021 in Geneva, Switzerland.

The Washington Post reports that Ukrainian defenses are suffering from serious shortfalls of ammunition and experienced troops – two things that the West is in a poor position to remedy anytime soon. Sending U.S. or NATO troops would risk a direct clash with the Russian military and potential escalation into nuclear conflict. Western stockpiles of artillery shells and missiles for the war are dwindling, which in turn has implications for American military readiness elsewhere in the world. And it is becoming evident that the United States and its allies cannot ramp up defense manufacturing quickly enough to meet Ukraine’s urgent needs.

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