When Russia first invaded Ukraine two weeks ago, the near-unanimous global assumption was that it would score a quick and easy military victory over its neighbor to the west.
But now — with the Ukrainians waging a fierce resistance and Russian forces bogged down outside nearly every major city — the Biden administration and its allies say they see no clear end to the military phase of this conflict, according to interviews with 17 administration officials, diplomats, policymakers and experts. The situation seems destined to result in an even deadlier and more protracted slog, wreaking devastation in Ukraine and causing a massive humanitarian crisis.
Jim Townsend, the former deputy assistant secretary of defense for European and NATO policy, said that right now, “everyone is kind of feeling their way forward.”
“The endgame is going to be pretty complicated, and the endgame is going to have to deal with Putin as who he is, and it’s also going to have to deal with getting Ukraine back on its feet and also deal with what to do with these sanctions,” Townsend said.
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