Espreso. Global

To defeat bunker old man, West must share its defense capabilities with Kyiv, which is not easy

5 January, 2024 Friday

The Western media consistently present the idea of a "peace plan" with the Kremlin. Although it is widely recognized that any attempt to freeze Putin's aggression, even under the guise of "peace," would likely result in a new conflict in Europe: almost all experts and politicians in the democratic world agree on this

The only difference is in the timeframe: some assume that the bunker old man (Putin - ed.) will need as much as a decade to regain its strength, while others do not rule out an attack on a NATO country this year. Why is there a critical mass of "peacekeepers" in the US and EU who are standing up for a new war freezing the war? Let's find out.

The West has several "phantom" reasons for preferring a "bad" capitulation peace to a "good" victorious war against the Kremlin. I'll start with the lesser-known one: to defeat the Ruscists, the West must share its own defense capabilities. To clarify, let's talk about the "war of the warehouses.”

"Western Countries Face a Serious Defense Crisis," was the headline of The Wall Street Journal: the West is facing a severe shortage of air defense systems. Due to helping Ukraine, many countries have depleted their strategic stockpiles, and military corporations are unable to ensure their rapid production.

The problem with NASAMS is particularly acute. The Norwegians need two years to produce and assemble only one system. Norway has just been able to deliver the first NASAMS to Hungary, ordered in 2019 and 2020. And next in line is Taiwan, which has ordered 5 more units, which will take at least 10 years to produce.

The United States has barely been able to solve the problem of producing missiles for the Patriot, having built up to 500 per year: Ukraine's needs alone are more significant. It is no longer possible to produce more due to a lack of components at the factories.

The Pentagon wanted to double the production of Javelin ATGMs from 2,000 to 4,000 per year, but also faced difficulties and postponed the increase in production capacity until 2025. The situation is similar with ammunition for guns, HIMARS, etc.

At the same time, military corporations receive huge funding and huge profits, which they spend on buying up their own shares: it is much easier than expanding production. Simultaneously, Moscow is mass-producing missiles at a significant pace, overwhelming Ukraine's air defense system. The West is meanwhile grappling with a diminishing supply of missiles for Ukraine.

The Telegraph claims that the F-16 fighter jets given to Ukraine will soon need to be replaced. After several hundred hours of intensive flights, which put even more strain on the aged frames, the former Dutch planes may become dangerous for the pilots. There are two ways out either supply Kyiv with fresher F-16s or buy Gripens from Swedish Saab.

For the future of peace, NATO is interested in seeing Moscow "destroyed" in Ukraine, Newsweek loudly declares, quoting "new" members of the Alliance. But such articles do not mention the most important thing: since the military-industrial complexes of the great Western powers are virtually lethargic and unable to increase production, the only way to replenish Ukraine's arsenals is to share its own weapons... not surplus, but strategic stockpiles of the armed forces. And here, in fact, is the problem.

On one hand, the slogan "it is better to support Ukrainians than to shed the blood of their own soldiers" resonates well in the West. On the other hand, the lingering anxieties of the old world, which have historically constrained arms supplies, are reemerging. There is a palpable fear of Putin's defeat and the potential collapse of the Russian Federation. This dilemma brings to mind Sholtsov's famous quote, "Russia must not win, Ukraine must not lose." And what about the Kremlin's loss? This question remains unanswered.

China is also raising the specter of World War III, which is making some Washington and European politicians keep their own arsenals "for better times."

And the third factor is that strategic reserves of the armed forces are protected by the laws of the countries. These laws can be circumvented, but there must be a strong motivation to do so.

The Western world is sincerely helping Ukraine, but it is helping us not to lose. But we need to help the Ukrainian Armed Forces win. And to think less about "peace agreements.” These are the signals we should be looking for from the West right now.


About the author. Orest Sokhar, journalist, editor-in-chief of Obozrevatel.

The editors do not always share the opinions expressed by the blog authors.

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