After Big Gains, Ukrainians Face Critical Choices 烏克蘭突奪回大片失土 指揮官的新難題
After Ukraine's stunning offensive in its northeast drove Russian forces into a chaotic retreat and reshaped the battlefield by hundreds of miles, Ukrainian leaders were weighing critical gambles that could determine the near-term course of the war.
Stretching the Ukrainian forces too far could leave the troops vulnerable to attack. Moving too slow, or in the wrong place, could leave an opportunity squandered. And waiting too long could allow the front lines to freeze as winter sets in.
By expelling Russian troops from a large slice of strategic territory in the northeastern Kharkiv region, Ukrainian forces are now positioned to make a move on the Donbas, the industrialized eastern territory that President Vladimir Putin of Russia has made central to his war aims. Just before flooding troops across the border in February, Putin declared the Donbas independent from Ukraine, and he held up the region's sovereignty as a key justification for the invasion.
Russia now has control of nearly 90% of the Donbas, where its military shifted much of its focus after a staggering defeat around the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, in the spring. If Ukraine were to retake even a part of the region, it would be an embarrassing blow to the Kremlin.
Western analysts, including at the Pentagon, said that the Ukrainians were overall making gains as quickly as Russian forces were falling back.
But Ukraine faces potentially serious pitfalls if it pushes any farther.
Any future advances would mean that Ukrainian forces would further extend their supply lines, straining convoys of fuel, ammunition and reinforcements as they have to move farther away from their established logistics hubs.
That could leave Ukrainian units vulnerable, said John Blaxland, a professor of security and intelligence studies at the Australian National University in Canberra. Although he added that a Russian counterattack was "not necessarily going to happen," in part because the morale of Moscow's troops appears to be foundering.
The current Ukrainian offensive "was a rapid breakthrough designed to take advantage of favorable positions and thinly manned Russian defenses," said Michael Kofman, the director of Russian studies at CNA, a research institute in Arlington, Virginia.
Passage of Climate Bill Sparks a Surge in Clean Energy Projects 美國通過氣候法案 潔淨能源計畫案大增
文/Jack Ewing、Ivan Penn
In the weeks since President Joe Biden signed a comprehensive climate bill devised to spur investment in electric cars and clean energy, corporations have announced a series of big-ticket projects to produce the kind of technology the legislation aims to promote.
Toyota said it would invest an additional $2.5 billion in a factory in North Carolina to produce batteries for electric cars and hybrids. Honda and LG Energy Solution announced a joint venture to build a $4.4 billion battery factory at a location to be named.
Piedmont Lithium, a mining company, said it would build a plant in Tennessee to process lithium for batteries, helping to ease America's dependence on Chinese refineries — a key aim of the Biden administration. First Solar, a big solar panel manufacturer, said it would invest up to $1.2 billion to build its fourth factory in the United States, probably somewhere in the Southeast, largely because of renewable energy incentives in the climate bill.
But those projects also illustrate how much work remains to be done. Factories take time to build, and until then electric vehicles are likely to remain scarce and expensive. Toyota's factory in North Carolina and Honda's venture with LG will not produce batteries until 2025.
Some of the projects were in the works before the federal legislation passed, and before California added an extra push by banning sales of new gasoline cars by 2035. The big climate bill, the Inflation Reduction Act, is the latest in a series of policy moves and geopolitical developments that have pushed automakers and suppliers to invest in the United States. The trade war with China, disruption of supply chains by the pandemic, changes in free-trade agreements with Canada and Mexico, and the bipartisan infrastructure law last year have all had a powerful impact on where companies decide to build factories.
At a time of economic uncertainty, the legislation gives companies more confidence that they can earn a return on their bets. The investments serve as affirmation of political leaders' intent: to further accelerate America's transition away from fossil fuels and to reduce dependence on foreign suppliers, especially those in China.