American aid to Ukraine has been, since the start of Russian aggression, the logistical pillar of Ukrainian resistance, as well as the catalyst for all Western aid, playing a strategic role for Kyiv. This aid is all the more critical because Ukrainians and Russians know that the war will last several years, even if Western media and leaders are focusing today on the ongoing offensive in the Zaporozhye oblast.
In this context, the return to the White House of Donald Trump, like that of Ron de Santis, could represent an existential threat for Ukraine, both having threatened to withdraw American military assistance to Kyiv. However, it seems that, for several months, President Zelensky has undertaken to anticipate such a cataclysm in order to be able to continue the fight, even without the support of Washington.
The growing threat of the end of US aid to Ukraine
With $76.8 billion in aid to Ukraine between the start of the conflict and July 2023, including €46.6 billion in military aid, the United States is, by far, the largest contributor to the effort. of war in the face of Moscow's aggression. In addition, every month, Washington grants Kyiv a new package of military aid ranging from $250 to $400 million, including numerous munitions, armored vehicles, drones and much other equipment.
Beyond this direct aid, American support for Ukraine has been, in numerous examples, a driving force in “unblocking” certain reluctance in Europe. This was specifically the case concerning the delivery of artillery systems and then Western heavy tanks, with Berlin refusing to deliver, or to authorize the delivery of Leopard 2 to Kyiv, before the United States had for its part announced the delivery of M1 Abrams.
In fact, when Donald Trump, the big favorite in the Republican primaries, but also his runner-up Ron de Santis, the governor of Florida, declared themselves opposed to continued American aid to Ukraine if they were to win the next elections US presidential elections in 2024, the subject is obviously cause for concern in Kyiv.
This is all the more the case since today, polls put Donald Trump and Joe Biden neck and neck within the margin of error, while 12 to 14% of Americans still say they are undecided. In addition, given his age, Joe Biden's candidacy is subject to doubt, while the hypothesis of a duel between Donald Trump and Vice-President Kamala Harris gives a clear victory to the former president.
A hypothesis at the heart of Russian strategy in Ukraine
This threat has not escaped Moscow, which has, in part, reorganized its defense effort and its planning, precisely to be able to take advantage of the weakening of Ukraine if Washington were to end its support. Thus, the Russian armies are now applying a strictly defensive posture, aiming to erode Ukrainian military assets, while minimizing its own losses, at the cost of limited territorial losses.
At the same time, the Russian defense industry was reorganized so as to considerably increase its production rates , particularly in terms of armored vehicles, artillery systems and ammunition.
In fact, if the American umbilical cord were to break at the end of 2024, following a possible victory for Donald Trump, Moscow would then have considerable influence over the Ukrainian defenders who would therefore depend on European support to resist. However, to date, there is nothing to indicate that the Europeans have understood such a risk, and the responsibility that would fall to them if American support were to dry up.
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