Late last fall, as Pentagon officials were patting themselves on the back over a series of U.S.-supported Ukrainian battlefield victories, two abrupt changes took place in the war with Russia. Moscow began launching waves of missile and drone attacks on civilians and infrastructure across the country. And on the front lines, Russian forces radically stepped up their assault on the small eastern city of Bakhmut, while reinforcing their defensive lines in the south.
Those actions forced Ukraine's Western partners into a dramatic reassessment of the progress of the war and the direction it is likely to take this coming spring. As a result, the United States and its partners decided in just the last few weeks to embark on a far more aggressive phase of support, agreeing to supply a level of assistance they had long denied Kyiv.