Foreign PolicyForeign Policy

Biden Is Running Out of Time to Help Ukraine Fend Off Russia

By Amy Mackinnon, Jack Detsch, Robbie Gramer

06 Dec 2021 · 11 min read

A week before the Thanksgiving holiday last month, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov came to his American counterpart Lloyd Austin’s third-floor Pentagon office with an unusually large request: He needed weapons systems, including many that the United States had never before provided to Ukraine, and he needed them fast.

Ukraine was, and still is, asking the Biden administration for a wide range of capabilities that officials hope could change Russia’s calculus about launching another invasion of the country. The list, which was first detailed by Reznikov to Austin in mid-November and has not been previously reported in detail, includes support for air and naval defense and electronic warfare—a potential shield against devastating bombings and electromagnetic attacks that would likely accompany any forward march across Ukraine by Russian mechanized forces.

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