European countries, the United States and Canada have announced military aid for Ukraine, including lethal weapons. This decision, which carries the risk of increasing Russian anger and further tensing the conflict, is not enough to give Ukraine a victory, although it is enough to prolong the confrontation even more.
Ukraine asked for help, and the countries of the Western sphere listened. Since Russia began its military offensive in its neighboring country, the governments of the United States and the European Union have decided to send military support to the Executive led by Volodímir Zelenski in his defense against the Kremlin.
We are talking about 450 million euros from the European Union in military aid, including lethal weapons; 350 million dollars from the United States; 394 million from Canada. In addition, bilaterally, countries such as Finland, Sweden, Belgium and Spain sent material such as missiles, assault rifles, pistols, grenade launchers and rocket launchers.
Even Germany decided to break its tradition of not supplying weapons to any conflict zone: Chancellor Olaf Scholz decided to help the Ukrainian side with 1,000 rocket launchers and 500 missiles.
Most of the weapons are concentrated in material that can oppose Russian tanks, one of the Kremlin’s main cards in its offensive, and that can shoot down aircraft, another field in which Russian troops have a wide advantage over Ukraine. .
Military aid, enough to arm Ukraine?
Despite the barrage of military aid promised to Ukraine, doubts are growing about the real impact they may have. To begin with, because of the logistics involved: getting weapons by air directly to Ukraine is no longer possible, and practically not by sea, since the ports of Mariupol and Kherson are no longer safe.
Most of the aid arrives by land through Poland, an operation that is equally risky, since a military aid convoy is an easy target. In fact, Putin has already assured that this type of support for Ukraine would be considered “hostile acts” if not “acts of war”. Hungary, for example, has refused to serve as a bridge.
When the military aid arrives, it also needs to reach the combat points and the Ukrainian troops know how to use the different weapons.
But the big question mark over this initiative is whether it can really tip the balance in favor of Ukraine. The comparison leaves little room for hope: military economic aid from Canada, the European Union and the United States added up to approximately 1% of the Russian war budget. The anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles will have to face more than 12,000 Russian tanks and more than 4,000 military aircraft.
After all, raising Ukraine’s military might to that of Russia, the world’s second-largest power in this regard, would require vastly greater investment than the West currently makes. Therefore, it is conceivable that the shipment of weapons will perhaps prolong the conflict, but that it will not give Zelensky victory.
Stop the war with more weapons?
On an interview to channel 24h of RTVESpanish public television, a retired general asked himself the following questions: “What is going to happen with these weapons? Are the Ukrainians going to turn the war around? Are they going to stop it for two weeks? Are they going to delay it? So much so that the economic sanctions, or the rejection of the population, or the oligarchs, end up forcing Putin to end the aggression? Or are they only going to delay it for two weeks and in the end they are going to end the same as if they had not given weapons?”
“Because if that is the case, the deaths of those two weeks are not going to be of any use,” said José Enrique Ayala, former chief of staff of the Eurocorps between 2001 and 2003.
Those who are asking these same questions are more and more, some voices that stand out in the midst of what seems to be a broad consensus around military support for Ukraine, which drinks from the harsh urgency to do something to stop this war. Under what calculations have these decisions been made? Are governments willing for these European weapons to end up in the hands of Ukrainian civilians?
The aid from the European Union comes, in fact, from a fund contradictorily called the European Fund for Peace. According to the rules of this Fund, weapons can only be delivered if it is known that the conflict will not be long-term and if it is not used to commit human rights violations. But how will the community bloc control that in a context of war?
On an article in the alternative medium ‘El Salto‘, Tica Font, from the Delás Center for Peace, lamented: “How many reports we have made warning of what can happen!”. For example, this Center recalls that Western countries contributed to increasing tensions with Russia by arming the Ukrainian Army for years, since 2014. Without going any further, the United States had already delivered 1,000 million dollars in military aid before this crisis broke out .
“When the conflict breaks out, they ask us to react “as appropriate” (…) They ask us not to be critical and to give unconditional support to the actions that our governments are going to undertake,” lamented Font. “We have to close ranks and let the weapons do the talking.”
There is a Roman maxim that goes like this: “Si vis pacem, para bellum”. “If you want peace prepare for war”. Countless conflicts later, including two World Wars, it seems that maxim still holds true today.