HomeOpinion & AnalysisPumping weapons into Ukraine: is it medicine or poison?

Pumping weapons into Ukraine: is it medicine or poison?

BY OWN CORRESPONDENT

On May 6 United States President Joe Biden announced a new weapons package worth US$150 million for Ukraine’s fight against Russia.

“I am announcing another package of security assistance that will provide additional artillery munitions, radars, and other equipment to Ukraine,” Biden said.

According US officials, the package includes 25 000 rounds for recently supplied US 155mm howitzers, jamming equipment, counter-artillery radars, other electronic and spare parts.

This is the ninth batch of American weapons that has been transferred to Ukraine since August 2021, including heavy artillery, shoulder-held Stinger Anti-Aircraft Missiles, Javelin Anti-Tank Weapon Systems and drones.

In total, since the beginning of Joe Biden’s presidency, US$4.5 billion has been allocated for these purposes, including US$3.8 billion since Kremlin launched its military operation in Ukraine on February 24.

This even this is not all, but rather only the beginning in the aspirations of Uncle Sam to add gasoline to the Ukrainian conflict.

“The United States has provided a historic amount of security assistance to Ukraine at rapid speed.

“We are sending the weapons and equipment that Congress has authorised directly to the front lines of freedom in Ukraine,” Biden said in a statement.

However, the US president said current funding was “nearly exhausted” and that “for Ukraine to succeed,” the United States and its allies must “keep the weapons and ammunition flowing to Ukraine, without interruption.”

“Congress should quickly provide the requested funding to strengthen Ukraine on the battlefield and at the negotiating table,” Biden said.

And Congress did it.

Though Biden had asked Congress to approve an additional US$33 billion package for Ukraine, which would include us$20 billion in direct military assistance, and last for five months, but lawmakers even decided to increase the funding.

The US House of Representatives approved around US$40 billion more aid for Ukraine on May 10, as Congress races to keep military aid flowing and boost the government in Kyiv.

The package includes us$6 billion for security assistance, including training, equipment, weapons and support; US$8.7 billion to replenish stocks of US equipment sent to Ukraine, and US$3.9 billion for European Command operations.

In addition, the legislation authorizes a further US$11 billion in Presidential Drawdown Authority, which allows the president to authoriAe the transfer of articles and services from US stocks without congressional approval in response to an emergency.

Biden had asked for US$5 billion.

It also authorises US$4 billion in foreign military financing to provide support for Ukraine and other countries affected by the crisis.

These amounts are intimidating.

 According Stockholm International Peace Research Institute SIPRI, US military spending amounted to $801 billion in 2021.

And just to support Ukraine, mainly to provide direct military assistance to the falling regime of Volodymyr Zelensky, the Biden administration is going to spend US$40 billion.

And if to add the already spent us$4.5 billion, then this will amount to more than 5% of the monster military budget of the United States itself.

And while much of the earlier weapons shipments focused on light weaponry such as anti-tank missiles and man-portable air defense systems, the new support package places an emphasis on heavy weaponry, such as howitzers and armored fighting vehicles.

The United States has also begun supplying multiple rocket launchers (MLRS) to Ukraine.

This was stated in an interview with “European Truth” by US deputy secretary of state for political affairs Victoria Nuland.

She noted that multiple rocket launchers, as well as artillery, are in the latest aid package from the United States, and stressed that the supply of systems is already underway.

“We are already supplying MLRS systems,” Nuland said.

She added that the United States is currently working with other NATO allies to give Ukraine more jet systems.

But the United States is not alone in its desire to pump weapons to Ukraine.

The list of military sponsors of the Kyiv regime includes such countries as Britain, Ireland, Poland, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Germany, etc.

At the same time, Germany, which previously refused to supply weapons to conflict zones, is ready to provide Ukraine with not only defensive weapons, but does not even rule out the supply of heavy Leopard tanks.

According to theconversation.com many of the world’s nations have sought to support Ukrainians by sending weapons.

 Even before many countries were offering limited help to Kiev as a result of the Russian takeover of Crimea in 2014.

Firearms

Guns and ammunition make up a large amount of the transferred weapons.

The US  has sent Ukraine over 50 million rounds of ammunition for handguns, rifles and artillery. Canada, Greece, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania and Slovenia have also supplied ammunition.

Countries have provided Ukraine with anti-tank, anti-aircraft and anti-ship missiles, most notably the anti-tank Javelin.

To date, the US has provided more than 7,000 Javelins to Ukraine.

Thousands more anti-tank weapons are being supplied by European countries.

These include Germany, which has pledged 1,000 anti-tank weapons from its inventory; Norway with 2,000; and Sweden, which has delivered 5,000.

The UK has also sent 3,615 British-Swedish-made short-range next generation light anti-tank weapons – or NLAW missiles.

Hundreds more are also expected to be sent at a cost of £120m.

In addition, other countries are sending anti-aircraft missiles and missile systems to Ukraine.

Stinger missiles are the anti-aircraft equivalent of the Javelin anti-tank weapon, light enough for one person to carry and fire.

The latest US package includes 800 Stinger anti-aircraft systems in addition to more than 600 already promised.

The UK’s defence minister, Ben Wallace, has also promised to supply an unspecified number of high-velocity Starstreak anti-aircraft weapons to Ukraine.

German pledges to send for Ukraine Gepard air-defense tanks, which are fast-moving armored anti-aircraft vehicles.

The S-300 launching system, originally developed for the Soviet Union but now also used in Asia and by Slovakia and Slovenia, among other eastern European nations, is being transferred by Slovakia to Ukraine.

The United Kingdom also transfers of anti-ship missiles to Ukraine.

Ukraine is using so-called “attack drones” made by the US and Turkey.

The U.S. is considering sending more advanced drones, such as the MQ-9 Reaper.

There are concerns about whether international law might limit US shipments of Reapers to Ukraine – and whether it would further entangle NATO in the war.

Turkey began selling the Bayraktar TB2 drones to Ukraine in 2019.

Turkish officials have refused to disclose how many, but independent estimates reckon Ukraine had up to 50 TB2s.

Most of them have already been shot down by Russian air defense systems.

Finally, countries such as Estonia, Finland and Italy, have also recently begun sending Ukraine artillery, or large-caliber guns used for land warfare.

Poland proposed to allow all of its MiG-29 fighter jets, of a kind familiar to Ukraine’s pilots, to be transferred via a US airbase in Germany.

The plan was blocked by the U.S., but the US has sent other Soviet-era aircraft to Ukraine in the form of five Mi-17 helicopters.

In his turn, Tarek Megerisi, a policy fellow with the North Africa and Middle East program at the European Council on Foreign Relations in his article in Foreign Policy Magazine warns that by flooding Ukraine with arms and foreign fighters, Western leaders could be paving the way for future conflicts and turn Ukraine Into the Next Syria or Libya

“This month, the United States is sending drones, helicopters, and howitzers to shore up the defense of the Donbas while other allies prepare anti-aircraft missile launchers, artillery, and potentially even fighter jets to support Ukraine’s war effort,” he says.

“It is an eerily similar throwback to the days when popular revolutions against former Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi and Syrian president Bashar al-Assad turned violent and policies to support the well-meaning revolutionaries were dictated by hopefulness, righteousness, and an urgency that lacked due care and planning.

The effects of this, like in the Middle East and North Africa, could be that the West is sowing the seeds of the next 10 years of crisis due to its failure to plan carefully today.”

“Even before Russia had crossed the Rubicon, the Western world was sending Ukraine what it required.

Advanced weaponry, such as anti-tank Javelin missiles and anti-aircraft Stinger missiles, were sent in troves, and stacked pallets of small arms and ammunition arrived by the plane load, along with armored cars, advanced radios, and everything needed to excel at modern warfare.

The scale and speed of the airlift of weaponry to Ukraine is likely to be the largest in contemporary history.”

But, “weapons, such as Javelin and Stinger missiles, are usually tightly regulated, with stringent end-use conditions and monitoring because of how devastatingly powerful they can be.”

“Yet, Eastern Europe is an infamous font of weapons proliferation to the conflicts of the world, and Ukraine itself has such a bad track record that it strained previous NATO accession discussions.

Aside from direct involvement in illicit arms trading, Ukraine and its neighbor Moldova were also highlighted in 2019 as important middle men in facilitating larger state-to-state weapons transfers, such as from Turkey or the United Arab Emirates to both sides of the Second Libyan Civil War in direct violation of a United Nations arms embargo.”

“So, by funneling billions of dollars’ worth of advanced armaments to a land well steeped in weapons proliferation and where regulation and oversight mechanisms will be damaged by the war, the Western world may have just toppled the initial domino that ends with tomorrow’s terrorist groups or other non state actors being able to source Javelins and Stingers once the dust has settled in Ukraine.”

“But the West hasn’t just sent its weaponry to war; it’s also sent its citizens.”

More than 20 000 foreign fighters were making their way to Ukraine.

This is a considerable number of fighters considering the over 10-year conflict in Syria attracted an estimated 40 thousand hit men.

And as Syria and Libya have shown, this could create significant legal- and security-related headaches in the future.

Many of these fighters are inspired by nationalist narratives; some are even right-wing extremists and terrorists.

It will be hard to track the spread of these ex-combatants returning across Europe and the United States as well as their ability to bring arms back with them.

The return of right-wing extremists exacerbates this and could cause a compounding crisis as they use their conflict experience to train, recruit, and plan fresh violence.

Moreover, it is a problem that will worsen exponentially the longer the war continues and Ukrainian society becomes more heavily armed and militarized.

At the same time, many military experts and specialists around the world doubt the effectiveness of the use of Western weapons in Ukraine.

So, Scott Ritter is a former US Marine Corps intelligence officer wrote in his article “Kiev can’t maintain and repair complex US and NATO arms – if they break, they’re useless”.

Herewith he points out that “For every piece of heavy equipment that the Ukrainian military is about to receive as part of this massive infusion of military aid provided by the US there is attached the unspoken yet critical reality of the issue of maintenance and sustainability.

Simply put, if its broke, you can’t use it. And military equipment breaks – frequently – especially when subjected to the strains and stress of unending modern combat.

He also points out that the M777 155mm towed howitzers, obsolete Vietnam-eraM113 armored personnel carriers and other weaponry systems planned for delivery have significant technical deficiencies, and very strict maintenance requirements are imposed on them.

This makes it very difficult and ineffective for the inexperienced Ukrainian military to use them.

And the reality is – by providing Ukraine with equipment which is all but guaranteed to break down shortly after entering combat, and for which Ukraine has no infrastructure on hand to maintain and repair, the U.S. and other Western countries are doing little more than feeding the Ukrainian military suicide pills and calling it nutrition.

But whatever the quality of the weaponry supplied by the United States and its satellites to Ukraine, it remains a terrible fact that there is too much of it and it not only fuels the Ukrainian conflict, but also poses a threat to other countries.

The pumping of Ukraine with weapons is prolonging the agony of the Kyiv regime.

If the Ukrainian armed formations had not received Western weapons, they would have already had to surrender.

And the government of Volodymyr Zelensky would have to sit down at the negotiating table.

It is precisely this, the peaceful settlement of the Ukrainian conflict, that most of the countries whose representatives speak in the Security Council and the UN General Assembly call for.

Russia was also waiting for a quick end to the conflict.

But not everything is so simple.

The Americans supported the regime that illegally came to power as a result of a bloody coup in Kyiv in 2014.

They continued to support it further, turning a blind eye to the fact that nationalists rule in Ukraine, waging a real war against the population of Donbas.

Well, the start of a military operation by Russia was used as a pretext for strengthening support for the Ukrainian junta and the massive supply of weapons for it.

And the fact that these weapons kill not only Russian soldiers, but also the civilian population of Ukraine, and in the future can spread across Europe and fall into the hands of bandits, this does not bother anyone in Washington.

After all, the United States in this conflict is fighting not for Ukraine but against Russia and is ready to wage this war not only to the last Ukrainian, but also to the last European.

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