Western arms supplies for Ukraine: a double-edged sword

The support of weapons to Ukraine is proof of solidarity of the West. But this interference can be dangerous to them.

Western arms supplies for Ukraine: a double-edged sword

Twenty countries – most of them are members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the European Union (EU), are pouring weapons into Ukraine to counter Russia’s military campaign.

  • The Netherlands is sending rocket launchers to the Ukrainian air defenses. 
  • Estonia sends Javelin anti-tank missiles. 
  • Latvia sends Stinger surface-to-air missiles. 
  • The Czech Republic sent machine guns, sniper rifles, pistols, and ammunition.
  • Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki promised to send tens of thousands of artillery shells, anti-aircraft missiles, light mortars, reconnaissance drones (Unmanned aerial vehicles), and other weapons. PolandHungary, and Moldova also opened their borders to thousands of Ukrainian migrants.
  • Germany did not send weapons to Ukraine before, because it has an oil pipeline project with Russia. Germany was criticized for sending only combat helmets to Ukraine. It has now sent Stinger missiles and rockets to Kyiv.
  • Sweden – a neutral country and not a NATO member, announced that it was sending Ukraine 5,000 anti-tank weapons, 5,000 combat helmets, 5,000 armor, 135,000 field rations, and USD $52 million. 
  • Another neutral country, Finland, also said it would provide 2,500 assault rifles, 150,000 rounds of ammunition, 1,500 anti-tank weapons, and 70,000 field rations.

Western arms supplies for Ukraine: a double-edged swordLithuanian forces are transferring weapons to Ukraine on a plane

The European Peace Facility is a European Fund to buy heavy weapons. The fund was established two years ago with the goal of preventing conflict and enhancing international security.

The fund has a budget of about USD$ 6.4 billion for operations between 2021 and 2027. EU leaders said that if Ukraine needs financial support, it can be used.

Western arms supplies for Ukraine: a double-edged sword

Russia’s campaign in Ukraine has brought European countries closer together

Western arms supplies for Ukraine: a double-edged sword“European security and defense in the last six days have grown more than in the previous two decades,” Ursula von der Leyen (president of the European Commission), said on March 1

The United States

Across the Atlantic, the US is also supporting Ukraine, although Joe Biden has announced he will not send troops to Ukraine.

A day after Russia launched a military operation in Ukraine on February 24, the White House approved a USD$ 350 million package of weapons, including Javelin anti-tank weapons and Stinger missiles. 

Western arms supplies for Ukraine: a double-edged swordPentagon leaders said shipments will move in the next days from military stockpiles in Germany to Poland and Romania, before entering into western Ukraine.

Russia

President Putin said that Western support for Ukraine is a threat to Russia. On February 27, Putin deployed nuclear (Strategic Missile Forces of the Russian Federation – RVSN RF). That was considered a warning to Europe and the US.

Western arms supplies for Ukraine: a double-edged sword

Many neighboring countries could be drawn into the conflict

During a visit to an airbase in Poland, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg stressed that “Putin’s war affects all of us and NATO allies will always stand together to protect each other. NATO’s commitment to defense cooperation remains unchanged”.

No miscalculations,” he said. “We will do what is necessary to protect every inch of NATO land.”

“On NATO territory, we should be like Pakistan,” said Douglas Lute (former lieutenant general and US ambassador to NATO). “Supplying Ukrainians like Pakistanis supporting the Taliban in Afghanistan, stockpiling equipment in Poland and organizing supply lines.”

Western arms supplies for Ukraine: a double-edged swordA French soldier at Brive-la-Gaillarde before heading to Romania on March 1

To prevent risks, NATO also strengthens defenses in the member states of the Baltic region, close to the border with Russia.

  • The US has deployed an additional 15,000 troops to Europe, while pledging 12,000 troops to the NATO response force for the first time. Washington D.C also deployed more fighter jets and helicopters to Romania, Poland, and the Baltic states.
  • France sent the first batch of troops to Romania earlier this week and sent Rafale fighter jets to Poland.
  • Germany leads the NATO battalion in Lithuania, sending more fighter planes to Romania, some troops to Slovakia, and adding two more patrol boats.
  • The UK commands the battalion in Estonia, sending an additional 850 soldiers and several Challenger tanks, and 350 troops to Poland. They also alerted another 1,000 troops to readiness and sent four fighter jets to Cyprus, sending two ships to the eastern Mediterranean.
  • Canada, Denmark, Italy also have similar actions.

Experts commented

The speed of arms transfers is the essence because the border of Poland and Ukraine is still open. The Russian military is trying to encircle cities and isolate Ukrainian forces in the east of the Dnipro River, making resupply more difficult.

But whether the number of weapons sent by Europe will arrive in time is still uncertain. Besides, sanctions against Russia have the potential to create a bigger war with retaliatory measures from Moscow.

“Supplying arms to Ukraine is a good idea but the question is “how will Putin react?,” said Malcolm Chalmers, deputy director of the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) in London, the UK.

Experts also do not rule out the possibility that the Russian plane will enter NATO airspace when pursuing the Ukrainian plane. A similar situation happened when a NATO country shot down a Russian Su-24 fighter jet near the Turkish-Syrian border in 2015.

“This shows that NATO is seriously preparing for a situation where Russia expands its campaign and war in its member countries,” said Steven Erlanger (NY Times editor).

Western arms supplies for Ukraine: a double-edged sword

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.