After two months of war, Western sanctions were not enough to repel Russia. As Moscow continues its offensive in eastern and southern Ukraine, Kyiv’s allies are now opting for long-term military support, relying on the delivery of heavy weapons.
Will the war of nerves overcome Vladimir Putin’s determination? The Western strategy of maximum pressure on Russia this week took a new step with a series of statements aimed at strengthening the Ukrainian army.
Kyiv’s allies, hitherto limited to economic sanctions and the supply of so-called defensive weapons, are now betting on sending howitzers, tanks, helicopters and drones to repel Kyiv from the “occupier”. While Russia condemns hostile maneuvers and agitates for the risk of World War III, the United States and Europe now intend to strengthen Ukraine’s defenses in the long run.
The ongoing war
While the United States has already announced two $ 1.6 billion ($ 1.52 billion) military aid plans for Ukraine, Joe Biden asked the US Congress on Thursday, April 28, to extend the $ 33 billion budget. dollars (31.32 billion). euro) for Kyiv.
This huge investment includes about $ 20 billion in military aid, $ 3 billion in humanitarian aid, and $ 8 billion in economic aid to the Ukrainian government to support the functioning of institutions and pay salaries.
“According to the Biden administration, this plan is necessary for Ukraine to cope within the next five months, as Washington believes that this war will continue,” said Sonia Dread, a correspondent for France 24 in Washington.
For General Dominique Trinkan, the former head of the French military mission to the United Nations, Joe Biden’s request marks a turning point in US cooperation with Ukraine. “We can clearly see that the president is planning for the long term with huge funds, $ 33 billion and a request to Congress, because he can no longer have the exceptional funds he has already received. He asks for American unity on this issue, which is very important. ”
Modernize and train the Ukrainian army
After failing to encircle the Ukrainian capital in late March, Russian troops refocused their efforts on the Russian-speaking Donbass region in the east. But in recent weeks, Russian military officials have hinted that the region is just one step toward a wider conquest of the south. Faced with this threat, Westerners, who still did not want to send heavy weapons to Ukraine, decided to take a step.
At a meeting earlier this week that brought together about 40 countries at the US base in Ramstein, Germany, the Netherlands promised to provide several armored howitzers, which the government described as “the heaviest artillery of the Dutch army.” Germany, which is still retreating on the issue, has promised to send Cheetah tanks from its former military arsenal, while France has announced the supply of Caesar guns with a range of 40 km.
“NATO allies are preparing to provide long-term support to Ukraine and facilitate the transition from old Soviet-era equipment to more modern weapons and weapons systems to NATO standards, which will also require additional training,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Thursday.
In addition to its own military equipment, Ukraine receives three other types of weapons, General Trinkvant explains. “First, it is the weapons left by the Russian army, ie 200-250 tanks, which, for comparison, represents all the tanks of the French army. This is followed by two-week armaments provided by Eastern European countries with weapons similar to Ukraine’s. And here this material can be used immediately. Finally, there are weapons supplied by the Americans, the French, the British, and so on. Ukrainians do not know about this equipment, so they need to be trained, brought, and it takes time. ”
Do not feed the offender propaganda
Ironically, this project, aimed at military support for Ukraine, is very poorly received by Moscow. While Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov spoke of the threat of a “third world war,” Vladimir Putin, for his part, warned against any external intervention in the conflict, promising “speedy and lightning speed.”
“We want Russia to be weakened to such an extent that it will not be able to do the same thing as the invasion of Ukraine,” Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin said a few days ago. Exit softened by Joe Biden during his speech in the US Congress. The US President clarified that this is not an attack on Russia, but assistance to Ukraine in defense.
According to General Dominique Trinkan, Lloyd Austin’s remarks are “extremely dangerous” because they fuel Russian propaganda by attacking Russia. “We must eliminate this issue and support the legal position in which we are. This is Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations: when a country is attacked, it has the right to defend itself, and we have the right to help it. It is in this context that we must put ourselves: defending the attacked country, not defeating the aggressor country.