US facing Vietnam-style humiliation in Ukraine: Russia

Guy Faulconbridge |

An overnight attack in Ukraine comes amid a Russian airstrike campaign.
An overnight attack in Ukraine comes amid a Russian airstrike campaign.

US lawmakers’ support for $US60.84 billion ($A94.83 billion) more in aid for Ukraine shows Washington is wading much deeper into a hybrid war against Moscow that will end in humiliation on a par with the Vietnam or Afghanistan conflicts, Russia says.

President Vladimir Putin’s 2022 full-scale invasion of Ukraine has touched off the worst fall-out in relations between Russia and the West since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, according to Russian and US diplomats.

On Saturday, the US House of Representatives passed with broad bipartisan support a $US95 billion ($A148 billion) legislative package providing security assistance to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan over bitter objections from some far-right Republicans.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said it was clear that the US wanted Ukraine “to fight to the last Ukrainian” including with attacks on Russian sovereign territory and civilians.

“Washington’s deeper and deeper immersion in the hybrid war against Russia will turn into a loud and humiliating fiasco for United States such as Vietnam and Afghanistan,” Zakharova said.

Russia, she said, will give “an unconditional and resolute response” to the US move to get more involved in the Ukraine war.

US Central Intelligence Agency Director William Burns has warned last that without more US military support Ukraine could lose on the battlefield, but that with support Kyiv’s forces could hold their own this year.

The US has repeatedly ruled out sending its own or other NATO-member troops to Ukraine, which is fighting a grinding artillery and drone war with Russia along a heavily fortified 1000km front.

The US lost more than 58,000 military personnel in the 1955-75 Vietnam War, which ended with Communist North Vietnam’s victory and takeover of the South, while hundreds of thousands of civilians were killed.

In the 2001-2021 war in Afghanistan, the US reported 2459 dead and more than 20,000 wounded in the conflict which ended with the withdrawal of US-led coalition forces and the return to power of the Islamist Taliban movement.

The Soviet Union lost 14,453 personnel in the 1979-1989 war in Afghanistan. 

Civilian deaths in both the wars in Afghanistan were vast.

Russia now controls about 18 per cent of Ukraine – in the east and south of its neighbour – and has been incrementally gaining ground since the failure of Kyiv’s 2023 counter-offensive to make any serious inroads against Russian troops dug in behind minefields patrolled by drones and guarded by heavy artillery.

Arms factory
The US has approved a $A148 billion security assistance package for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan. (AP PHOTO)

Ukraine has for months been begging the US to release more money and weapons to help it fight, although Russian officials have asserted that US aid will not change the ultimate course of the war.

Zakharova said that ordinary Ukrainians were being “forcibly driven to slaughter as “cannon fodder” but that the US was now no longer betting on a Ukrainian victory against Russia. 

Washington, she said, was hoping Ukraine could hold on until the US presidential election in November.

The US legislative package includes measures that would allow the US to seize billions of dollars worth of Russian assets frozen by sanctions imposed on Moscow. 

That, said Zakharova, was simply “theft”, adding that the true beneficiaries of the whole package were US defence companies.

The leaders of the West and Ukraine have cast the war in Ukraine as an imperial-style land-grab showing that post-Soviet Russia is one of the top two biggest nation-state threats to global stability, alongside China.

Putin presents the war as part of a much broader struggle with the US which he says ignored Moscow’s interests after the Soviet Union’s 1991 break-up and then plotted to cleave Russia apart and grab its natural resources.

The West denies that it wants to destroy Russia, which in turn denies that it intends to invade any NATO member state.