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The Ukraine Arms Drain

New Eastern Outlook,  Brian Berletic 23 Dec 22

After months of feigned confidence and optimism from both the West and Ukraine’s senior military leadership, cracks are beginning to appear. During Ukrainian Commander-in-Chief General Valery Zaluzhny’s recent interview with the Economist, Ukraine’s desperate need for additional arms and the consequences for not receiving them was made very clear.

The discussion revolved around the desperate need for resources – everything ranging from air defense missiles to tanks, armored vehicles, artillery pieces and artillery shells themselves – all things that both the West and now Ukraine are admitting are in short supply, and perhaps cannot be supplied any time in the near or intermediate future.

From “Extending Russia” to “Demilitarizing” NATO

Washington’s proxy war against Russia in Ukraine is the manifestation of the RAND Corporation’s 2019 paper “Extending Russia” which recommended US policymakers to “provide lethal aid to Ukraine” hoping it would expand hostilities in eastern Ukraine and “increase the costs to Russia, in both blood and treasure, of holding the Donbass region.”

The paper had hoped that Russian losses in equipment and lives in the Donbass would replicate the costs the Soviet Union suffered in Afghanistan. While the Russian Federation is indeed facing mounting costs in Ukraine, it can easily be argued that the US, the rest of NATO, and most of all – Ukraine itself – are suffering at least as much if not more.

What’s perhaps more important than how much either side is losing in the conflict is how much either side can afford to lose because of their respective military industrial capacity to regenerate manpower and equipment throughout the fighting. After nearly a year of fighting, it is clear that Russia’s stockpiles and military were prepared for this type of protracted, intense, large-scale military conflict. Ukraine and its Western sponsors were not.

Ukraine’s General Zaluzhny shared with the Economist a “wishlist” of weapons he claimed he needed in order to restore the February 23, 2022 borders of what Kiev claims is Ukraine. The list included 300 tanks, 600-700 infantry fighting vehicles, and 500 howitzers – numbers NATO couldn’t provide Ukraine no matter how much it wants to.

This “wishlist” follows Ukraine expending a massive reserve made up of weapons, vehicles, and ammunition the collective West transferred to Ukraine ahead of the so-called Kharkov and Kherson offensives. In addition to losing multiple brigades worth of men, huge amounts of equipment were also lost as Russian ground forces withdrew and instead used long-range weapons to strike at Ukrainian forces now out from behind well-laid defenses.

The temporary political points Ukraine’s offensives gained by taking territory came at the cost of expending the vast majority of what the West could afford to transfer to Ukraine.

A growing number of admissions are now being made regarding the limits of Western aid to Ukraine……………………………………………….. more

December 28, 2022 - Posted by | business and costs, Ukraine, weapons and war

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