US Set to Push Zelenskiy at Davos for Clearer War Plan

Sullivan likely to raise strategy issue with Ukraine leader. Tensions seen as war heads into third year with aid stalled

The US wants Ukraine to sharpen its plan for fighting Russia’s invasion as the war heads into its third year and is expected to raise the issue with President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in Davos next week.

US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan is likely to bring up the topic with the Ukrainian leader on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum and American officials will continue to push the point in the coming weeks, according to people familiar with the planning who asked not to be identified to discuss matters that aren’t public.

Washington’s effort is the latest sign of friction between Ukraine and its most important ally. More than $110 billion in European and US aid for Kyiv remains held up and Ukraine’s counteroffensive last year – heavily backed by US and European arms and training – failed to deliver a major breakthrough.

Officials in Washington are concerned differences between Zelenskiy and his army chief, Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, are slowing efforts to crystallize a new strategy, the people said.

Spokespeople for the White House National Security Council declined to comment.

Zelenskiy warned Wednesday that allied hesitancy “only increases Russia’s courage and strength.” Speaking in Lithuania, he warned that air defenses are running short as Russia has stepped up missile strikes in recent weeks.

Allied officials remain hopeful the aid may be released by next month, the people said, though there’s no sign of a deal in Washington yet.

Ukraine’s military is currently developing plans for 2024 and a full range of options are under consideration, one of the people said. The US wants to determine how it can best align its support to help Ukraine defend itself in the coming year, the person added.

Zelenskiy, who is on a trip to NATO’s three Baltic states, ruled out on Thursday any pause in fighting as it would give Russia the opportunity to replenish its troops and military stockpiles, enabling it to strike with greater force. With a decisive breakthrough unlikely in the coming months, Kyiv’s allies say designing a clear military strategy for how to defend current positions and then break through Russian lines is crucial.