Seventeen former Pentagon and national security officials, along with ex-diplomats, are urging President Joe Biden to boost the U.S. military aid to Ukraine.
In a column, posted by The Hill on Tuesday, the group wrote: "The war in Ukraine has reached a decisive moment and that vital U.S. interests are at stake."
The column's authors include: retired Air Force General Philip Breedlove, who served at the 17th supreme allied commander in Europe; Eric Edelman, former ambassador to Finland and Turkey; retired Gen. Wesley Clark, who served as the 12th supreme allied commander in Europe; Evelyn Farkas, former deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia; retired Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, the former commanding general, U.S. Army Europe and former U.S. Ambassador to Germany John Kornblum.
They continued: "We have carefully watched Moscow's major offensive since February and the response of the Biden administration and its allies and partners. We have maintained close touch with Ukrainian, U.S., and European officials. Two of us just returned from meetings with Ukraine's defense and military leaders.
"Although the Biden administration has successfully rallied U.S. allies and provided substantial military assistance, including this month, to Ukraine's valiant armed forces, it has failed to produce a satisfactory strategic narrative which enables governments to maintain public support for the NATO engagement over the long term."
They maintained the Biden administration "may be unintentionally seizing defeat from the jaws of victory" by providing just enough aid necessary to produce a stalemate in the war.
They said the war is a "clear danger to U.S. security and prosperity."
"American principles and interests demand the strongest possible response, one sufficient to force the Russians as much as possible back to pre-February lines and to impose costs heavy enough to deter Russia from invading a third time," they wrote.
"With Russian forces struggling to regroup in the east and stave off Ukrainian efforts to retake Kherson in the south, now is the time for Ukraine's allies to pull out all the stops by providing Ukraine the means it needs to prevail."
The group added: "With the necessary weapons and economic aid, Ukraine can defeat Russia.
"If it succeeds, our soldiers are less likely to have to risk their lives protecting U.S. treaty allies whom Russia also threatens."
The former officials urged the Biden administration to "move more quickly and strategically, in meeting Ukrainian requests for weapons systems."
"And when it decides to send more advanced weapons, like HIMARS artillery, it should send them in larger quantities that maximize their impact on the battlefield," they wrote.
They also pointed out Ukraine needs additional short- and medium-range air defenses to battle Russia air and missile attacks.
"The stakes are clear for us, our allies, and Ukraine," they said. "The smart and prudent move is to stop [Russian President Vladimir] Putin's aggressive designs in Ukraine, and to do so now, when it will make a difference."
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