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Why Ukraine needs lethal weapons

Political cartoon by Oleksiy Kustovsky
Why Ukraine needs lethal weapons
Article by: Vitaly Portnikov
Translated by: Anna Mostovych

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
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