Why Ukraine needs lethal weapons

Political cartoon by  Oleksiy Kustovsky

Political cartoon by Oleksiy Kustovsky 

Analysis & Opinion

Article by: Vitaly Portnikov

The Pentagon’s recommendation to supply lethal weapons to Ukraine is a serious turning point in the US approach to settling a crisis. I would call it a return to sobriety.

When Russian troops launched the invasion of Crimea and the Donbas, many politicians in the West– and also in the White House — categorically opposed supplying lethal weapons to Ukraine. This was explained by the fear of intensifying the conflict in eastern Ukraine. The problem was going to be resolved solely through the pressure of sanctions on Russia.

Sanctions, of course, are very important. Objectively, they contribute to the dismantling of the Russian regime, they weaken the Russian economy, and they are a clear signal for Russian elites that collapse is inevitable without a change of direction. But sanctions are a necessary but insufficient condition for restoring the territorial integrity of Ukraine, for salvaging peace in Europe.

Cowards always attack only the weak

Putin with his trophy pike

Putin with his trophy pike

Moscow is used to attacking the weak. This was the case with Finland and Poland, with the Baltic states and Hungary, with Czechoslovakia and Afghanistan, with Georgia and Ukraine. When Russia meets firm opposition, its troops sooner or later leave the occupied country. This was the case with Finland following its war with the USSR in 1939-1940. Thanks to heroic resistance, Finland not only retained its sovereignty but also earned Moscow’s respect. This was the case with Afghanistan before the collapse of the Soviet Union. The heroic resistance of the Afghans and the constant losses suffered by the occupation forces forced the Kremlin to withdraw its troops from a country that Moscow considered its colony

But when an attempt is made to negotiate with Moscow, its soldiers and chekists begin to take reprisals against the population right in the streets of peaceful cities. This was the case in Budapest. Also in Prague. And in Crimea. This was the case in the Donbas.

Russian aggression can be stopped only by a strong Ukrainian army. Only a modern Ukrainian army can save Europe from another war. And this is not because it will defeat Russian armed forces, no. It is because Russia will not fight with such an army. And because the Kremlin will stop considering Ukrainians “weak.” The Russians will understand they are going to war and not to a parade. And they will take up much more important matters — for example, hunting for pike in the bogs of (Siberia’s) Tuva region.

After all, the pike will definitely not receive modern weapons that would allow it to repel Putin and Shoigu (Russian defense minister–Ed.). This is why it is a wonderful subject for a parade, and for trophy photos.

The West must understand that Russia is led by cowards. And cowards always attack only the weak.

Translated by: Anna Mostovych
Source: Radio Svoboda

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  • veth

    Let the Javelins arrive………..

    • zorbatheturk

      Dawohl.

  • veth

    The Energy Ministry of Russia is to start temporary electricity shutoffs in the south part of the Russian-occupied Crimean peninsula, the Interfax.ru news agency reported on Aug.6.

    The agency cited an unnamed source in the Energy Ministry saying Russian government was forced to start the power shutoffs on the south coast of Crimea from Aug.6 because of the Simferopol-Yalta electricity grid overload.

    No Russian knows how to install these Siemens engines………….hahahaha

  • Oknemfrod

    Portnikov is exactly right. History demonstrates beyond a reasonable doubt that having a common border with Russia and not having adequate modern defensive warfare and an army trained to use it professionally is tantamount to being suicidal. Ever since the issue of giving lethal defensive weaponry to Ukraine to defend herself arose after the annexation of Crimea the Russians have been whining of how it would “threaten” it and promising to retaliate should it happen. This alone indicates perfectly well that this is exactly what is needed.

    • Dagwood Bumstead

      The Ukrainian arms industry manufactures its own Javelin equivalent, the Stugna-P as well as a shorter range version, the Korsar:

      http://www.defence24.com/361151,ukraine-implements-domestically-manufactured-anti-tank-weaponry

      I’m not sure whether the country actually NEEDS Javelins, unless production of the Korsar and Stugna-P is so slow that it would take years to equip the Ukrainian army with sufficient missiles. Getting Javelins would, of course, be a great morale booster even if they are superfluous.

      • Oknemfrod

        Stugna-P is good but, unlike the Javelin, it’s not FAF – rather, it’s laser-guided, so the operator must have the target in sight and follow the missile till hit or miss. I’m not sure about the Korsar. I’ve recently read that currently, only two countries produce true FAF anti-tank missiles; and those are the “Javelin” from the US and “Spike” from Israel.

        However, I wasn’t talking just about weapons like Javelin but effective defensive weapons in general. For example, methinks that the Ukrainian armor-busting capabilities, not to mention ground troops support, could be greatly enhanced by a squadron or two of A-10’s (especially if it’s true that the Pentagon is serious about retiring its A-10 fleet, which in my opinion would be a gross blunder).

        • zorbatheturk

          Javelins will be a great deterrent.

        • RedSquareMaidan

          They are parked in Estonia and the NATO troops there are trained and ready.

        • Микола Данчук

          Before Ukraine can put planes in the air it needs to refine jamming capabilities against Buk and other intercept missiles. Also must consider that in the past Ukraine lost planes to missiles launched from inside Russia.

          • Oknemfrod

            True. But methinks A-10’s are well equipped with the necessary appurtenances. They operated in the areas saturated with Russia-supplied SAM’s in Iraq (probably both Buks and S300) with a devastating efficiency, and only a single plane was lost.

          • Микола Данчук

            I don’t recall Iraq having Sam’s, Buk or S300.
            Al Samoud were Iraq made missiles which never left the ground and they had Scud missiles, as far as I remember.

          • Oknemfrod

            You’re right about that: Iraq had older Russian AA complexes, not Buks or S300. But it doesn’t mean they had no SAM’s, as the latter merely denotes “surface-to-air missile”.

          • Микола Данчук

            The US eliminated all radar stations from the get-go.
            And post invasion inventory listed no Russian made SAM’s.
            One could ask the French or US what they sold Iraq in their war with Iran?

          • Oknemfrod

            My source of the data on SAM’s was this:

            globalsecurity.org/military/world/iraq/air-defence-equipment.htm

            From which it appears that iraq did have older long-range SAM’s in its arsenal as of the time the operation Iraqi Freedom began, but I can’t corroborate its veracity independently.

            However, we’ve far deviated from my main point that A-10’s would be a valuable asset for the UAF in terms of busting Russian armor and ground troops support. Do you disagree with it based on the notion that they would be vulnerable to the Russia AA resourced – or for any other reason, for that matter?

          • Микола Данчук

            I don’t necessarily disagree, I may be more cautious in estimating the overall benefit.
            A-10’s are nasty AKMF’s and would be a valuable asset but only with the relevant support systems.
            Personally, I haven’t been impressed with what the US has offered Ukraine (so far) in equipment. This isn’t a third world conflict.

          • Screwdriver

            While you having your wet A-10 dreams, all Ukrainian Air Force is already grounded, because they know that anything which would fly eastbound would be shot down.

          • Микола Данчук

            While your having your perpetual comprehension shut down?
            Ukrainian Air Force continues training with its allies and NATO forces!

          • Screwdriver

            Yes, they can fly anywhere they like, except the war zone :-)

          • Микола Данчук

            For now!

      • LES1

        Nolan Peterson, a former special operations pilot and a combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, is The Daily Signal’s foreign correspondent based in Ukraine.

        KYIV, Ukraine—On the front lines against Russia and its separatist proxies in eastern Ukraine, Ukrainian soldiers have, throughout the past three years of relentless combat, frequently turned to symbols of America to both intimidate and annoy their enemies—sometimes, in eclectic and creative ways.

        Ukrainian soldiers have raised U.S. flags over their front-line trenches and forts—typically to the retort of sniper or mortar fire from across no man’s land. Sometimes, to really get under the enemy’s skin, an English-speaking Ukrainian soldier will radio commands in English over unencrypted channels, pretending to be a member of SEAL Team Six.

        At the front-line village of Krymske in 2015, just outside the separatist stronghold of Luhansk, Ukrainian troops renamed a street from that of a Soviet luminary to “John McCain Street.”

        When Canadian journalist and filmmaker Christian Borys asked the soldiers when they were going to name a street after then-President Barack Obama, the soldiers replied, “When he sends us weapons.”

        Since the war in the Donbas region began in April 2014, Russian propaganda has spun yarns about U.S. military forces actively participating in the war. Consequently, Ukrainian soldiers know that flaunting American military support for Ukraine is a potent psychological weapon against their enemies.

        Any instance of U.S. military support for Ukraine is also a powerful morale booster for Ukrainian troops as they continue to grind out a 3-year-old war against a combined force of Russian troops and pro-Russian separatists.

        “U.S. support lets the Ukrainians know the stronger guy is on their side,” Mamuka Mamulashvili, commander of the pro-Ukrainian Georgian National Legion, told The Daily Signal in an interview.

        Now, after three years of war, Ukrainian troops may soon have at their disposal the one tangible affirmation of U.S. military support they’ve wanted the most—weapons.

        http://dailysignal.com/2017/08/04/value-us-weapons-goes-far-beyond-battlefield-ukrainian-troops-say/

  • zorbatheturk

    Spot on.

  • Микола Данчук

    One would think that the relationship of Ukrainian/American Military Defensive Industrial collaboration would have the Kremlin crying more so then just the suppling of missiles?
    Not to ignore Israels interests in some of what Ukraine has been working on or assistance it has given?

    However, I find that the progress Ukraine has make on the self-sustaining front much more impressive.
    But it’s reassuring to know that Ukraine is not alone.

  • Screwdriver

    “Russian aggression can be stopped only by a strong Ukrainian army. Only a modern Ukrainian army can save Europe from another war.”
    Wishful thinking. Very few Ukrainians wanted to fight Russians, few volunteer regiments, most of them criminals like Tornado battalion , Aidar, Azov etc…
    Even US Senators, did not want to arm Azov battalion.
    But regular Ukrainian army soldiers are not motivated to fight. They will be first to surrender and switch sides once Russian army enters Ukraine, like it happened in Crimea.
    So spending money for weapons to Ukraine is a waste of money. Kiev regime thief’s will resell it to Africa anyway, they do not need to “stop the Russian aggression”, they need ongoing narrative of “Russian aggression”, to keep milking West while stuffing they pockets with western taxpayers money.