By Thalif Deen
NEW YORK (IDN) — As the devastating war in Ukraine continues—with thousands of civilian killings and entire cities reduced to rubble—the United States has accelerated an unprecedented flow of weapons to the besieged nation.
If Ukraine loses the ongoing war, battling one of the world’s major military and nuclear powers, it is certainly not for want of weapons. [2022-04-15]
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told reporters on April 13 he has authorized $800 Million in additional U.S. Security Assistance for Ukraine.
“Today’s authorization will bring the total U.S. security assistance commitment to Ukraine to more than $3.2 billion since the beginning of this Administration (in January 2021), and more than $2.5 billion since the beginning of Russia’s brutal assault against Ukraine began on February 24,” he said.
The new arms package includes artillery, armoured vehicles, helicopters, and Unmanned Coastal Defence Vessels, as well as engineering and field support equipment.
This will be in addition to supplementing anti-armour and anti-personnel capabilities, counter artillery, and air defence radars, tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, body armour, and combat medical equipment.
According to the Pentagon, US arms supplies to Ukraine have also included over 1,400 Stinger anti-aircraft systems; more than 5,000 Javelin anti-armour systems; over 7,000 other anti-armour systems; hundreds of Switchblade Tactical Unmanned Aerial Systems; and over 7,000 small arms.
Additionally, the US has supplied over 50,000,000 rounds of ammunition; 45,000 sets of body armour and helmets; laser-guided rocket systems; Puma Unmanned Aerial Systems; four counter-artillery and counter-unmanned aerial system tracking radars; and four counter-mortar radar systems.
Ukraine’s military arsenal has also been strengthened with US-supplied Armoured High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles; night vision devices, thermal imagery systems, and optics; tactical secure communications systems; commercial satellite imagery services; explosive ordnance disposal protective gear; and medical supplies, including first aid kits.
On April 8 a press release from the Pentagon said that in addition to U.S.-produced weapons, “we have also worked to facilitate the transfer of capabilities from our allies and partners around the world”.
The US thanked the Slovakian government for providing an S-300 air defence system to Ukraine, something President Zelenskyy has personally raised in conversations with the United States.
To enable this transfer and ensure the continued security of Slovakia, the United States will re-position a U.S. Patriot missile system to Slovakia.
In a statement on April 2, U.S. President Joe Biden said the United States has placed the highest priority on delivering critical military capabilities to Ukraine so it can defend itself against Russian aggression.
The entire world has now witnessed the effectiveness of those weapons, as courageous Ukrainian forces have used them to repel the Russian attack on Kyiv, keep the skies of Ukraine contested, and deliver severe blows to the Russian military.
“Now is no time for complacency. The Russian military may have failed in its objective of capturing Kyiv, but it continues to inflict horrific acts of brutality on the Ukrainian people. As the Russian military repositions for the next phase of this war, I have directed my Administration to continue to spare no effort to identify and provide to the Ukrainian military the advanced weapons capabilities it needs to defend its country,” he declared.
Meanwhile, according to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Russian Federation's military and paramilitary services are equipped mostly with domestically-produced weapons systems, although since 2010, Russia has imported limited amounts of military hardware from several countries, including Czechia, France, Israel, Italy, Turkey, and Ukraine.
The Russian defence industry is also capable of designing, developing, and producing a full range of advanced air, land, missile, and naval systems. As of 2021, Russia is the world's second-largest exporter of military hardware.
Blinken said that in addition to “what we have provided, more than 30 countries have joined us to deliver security assistance to Ukraine since Russia’s invasion began. Together, we are working around the clock to deliver security assistance every day, and we are expediting shipments of even more of the arms and defence equipment Ukraine needs to defend itself”.
Blinken also pointed out: “We remain in close contact with Ukraine and are supportive of President Zelenskyy’s commitment to engage in diplomacy that leads to Russia stopping its attacks and withdrawing its forces.
We are focused on putting Ukraine in the strongest possible negotiating position by continuing to provide security assistance to help Ukraine defend itself and by increasing pressure on Putin by imposing severe costs on Russia.
We and our allies and partners will continue to provide security assistance, humanitarian aid, and economic support to Ukraine,” he noted.
Russia, he pointed out, has failed in its initial objective of capturing Kyiv and failed to subjugate Ukraine, “but we cannot become complacent”.
The United States and the international community will make Putin’s war of choice a long-term strategic failure for the Kremlin, he declared.
According to the CIA, the Russian armed forces include approximately 850,000 total active-duty troops (300,000 Ground Troops; 40,000 Airborne Troops; 150,000 Navy; 160,000 Aerospace Forces; 70,000 Strategic Rocket Forces; approximately 20,000 special operations forces; approximately 100,000 other uniformed personnel (command and control, cyber, support, logistics, security, etc.); estimated 200-250,000 Federal National Guard Troops. [IDN-InDepthNews – 15 April 2022]
Photo: Senior Airman Cameron Manson inspects cargo netting on palletized ammunition, weapons and other equipment bound for Ukraine during a Foreign Military Sales mission at Dover Air Force Base, Del., on Jan. 24, 2022. (Roland Balik/U.S. Air Force)