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According to Pentagon documents leaked by Airman Jack Teixeira, Washinton does not believe Ukraine will be able to recapture any significant territory during its much-anticipated spring offensive. The doubt expressed in the leaked February assessment has left the Biden administration preparing for failure.
More current assessments also offer a bleak outlook according to 2 Biden administration officials who said they don't believe Ukraine has the ability to retake the Crimean peninsula in the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions.
The leaked report confirms what Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in March, which is that Kyiv will not have the weapons needed for the offensive if the West does not provide them. The assessment notes that U.S. intelligence "indicates that Ukraine simply does not have the ability to push Russian troops from where they were deeply entrenched."
Should the spring offensive fail, the Biden administration will not only face strong criticism from those who have thought that Washington did not provide enough weapons, tanks, or warplanes to Ukraine but also from those who have been unhappy with the administration's lack of support for a diplomatic resolution to the conflict.
There is also concern that if the offensive fails, many of Washington's European allies will encourage negotiations to end the war, according to Zerohedge.
Not only has the Biden administration not encouraged peace negotiations since Russia first invaded Ukraine in February 2022, but it has also recently expressed its disapproval of the idea of a ceasefire. While the U.S. has left negotiations up to Zelensky, he has consistently maintained that Kyiv cannot engage in peace talks with Moscow until Russia has been forced out of all Ukrainian territory it currently controls, including Crimea.
The tide is turning in the White House, however, with discussions among the administration turning towards urging Zelensky to accept more reasonable goals and to agree to a temporary ceasefire. To incentivize Kyiv to accept the idea, the administration has considered providing Ukraine with NATO-like security and additional military aid.
Russia, however, has indicated that it will not settle for a peaceful truce, but rather must accomplish its goals by military means only. The Kremlin recently reaffirmed that one of its top priorities is keeping Ukraine out of NATO, while NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has insisted that Kyiv will be allowed to join the alliance calling it Ukraine's "rightful place."
While at the beginning of the invasion, Moscow and Kyiv were engaged in peace talks with Russia only demanding Ukraine's neutrality, Moscow's perspective and demands have changed. Any peace negotiations now would require that Kyiv recognize the regions annexed by Russia during the war, the Donbas, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia oblasts, as Russian territory, according to Moscow.
Ukraine stands to lose large swaths of territory to Russia and the Biden administration will be forced to face extremely uncomfortable questions from both sides should Kyiv's spring offensive fail.