POTOMAC, Md. ― President Joe Biden believes Russian President Vladimir Putin may not know how to end his brutal ongoing invasion of Ukraine after failing to achieve his objectives in the first two months.
“We’ve rallied the world to keep Putin in place... I’m confident that Putin believed he could break up NATO, that he believed he could break the European Union,” Biden said at a Monday night fundraiser for the Democratic Party. But now that those goals seem elusive, Biden said, he worries that the “very calculating” Putin is unsure of what to do.
Despite expectations that Putin might declare victory in Ukraine or expand the war on May 9, a national holiday in Russia for the Soviet role in World War II, the Russian leader has offered few details about his plans for the ongoing offensive.
Meanwhile, Biden is ramping up U.S. support for the Ukrainian resistance, including by expediting shipments of military aid through legislation he signed on Monday.
Russian and Ukrainian officials say they are maintaining a channel of dialogue but that an agreement seems unlikely any time soon. The two sides have not met face to face since March. In the weeks since, Ukraine’s anger has grown as officials and journalists have found evidence of apparent Russian war crimes against Ukrainians and as Moscow has tried to consolidate its control over Ukrainian territory where its troops remain, like the city of Kherson.
Experts believe Putin seeks a major triumph in Ukraine that he can trumpet at home — not least because of U.S.-led efforts to weaken his economy that are threatening ordinary Russians’ standard of living. International pressure and opposition to the campaign in Ukraine have already driven Russians to flee their own country.
In his May 9 address, Putin did not even utter the word “Ukraine.” But he defended the invasion as “forced, timely and the only correct decision.”