European pressure to pump arms for Ukraine

Germany’s delay in tank aid to Ukraine raises bigger questions about the West’s endurance in the arms race.

Experts say Ukraine needs to ensure an uninterrupted flow of weapons from the West to the front lines if it wants to consolidate control over the newly recaptured territories in Kharkov, turning the northeastern province into a strategic springboard for the rebels. new thrust into the Donbass.

This fact is prompting Ukrainian authorities to put pressure on the West, calling for the transfer of more modern heavy weapons such as main battle tanks and armor. The recent exchange of words between Kiev and Berlin is one of the latest examples of the pressure to aid weapons on the Ukrainian battlefield.

“Many disappointing signals from Germany, at a time when Ukraine needs Leopard and Marder to liberate and rescue the country. They don’t make any reasonable arguments for refusing to supply these weapons other than fear and vague pretext,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba last week attacked the German leadership.

German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht speaks at the Schloss Meseberg government guesthouse near the town of Gransee, in Brandenburg state, August 30.  Photo: Reuters.

German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht speaks at the Schloss Meseberg government guesthouse near the town of Gransee, in Brandenburg state, August 30. Image: Reuters.

In fact, Germany is the member of the European Union (EU) that provides the most economic support to Ukraine since the war broke out in February. They are ranked 4th in the world in terms of economic support for Ukraine with a total commitment. more than 1,150 billion euros (nearly 1.4 billion USD) behind Canada, the UK and the US respectively.

Germany also provides Ukraine with a number of modern weapons, including the Gepard self-propelled anti-aircraft gun. Defense assistance from Berlin, however, fell short of both Kiev’s and Washington’s expectations. The Ukrainian leadership wants Germany to soon support more main battle tanks and armor.

Under diplomatic pressure, German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht said last week that Germany did not want to act alone. No country in the alliance or NATO has agreed to provide modern Western-designed tanks.

Not only Germany, European powers are facing the same problem of heavy weapons aid for the third phase of the Ukraine war, when it organizes a counterattack to regain territory, and Russia has just issued an order mobilized to summon another 300,000 troops.

After nearly seven months of defense assistance to Ukraine, the arsenal of European allies is about to reach its limit. Most of the weapons in the past few months belong to the old generation weapons, which have been maintained and upgraded. Giving up these weapons is probably not too difficult a decision for the European countries that support Ukraine, according to Vox.

However, the aid of the new generation of modern weapons is a different story. This proposal puts Western countries in a situation where they need to think carefully about the long-term security impact, when they have to accept the withdrawal of their military potential to support Kiev.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said the weapons poured into Ukraine by Germany and its Western allies had “contributed to a situation far different from the Russian president’s plan”. According to the International Aid Coordination Center (IDCC), part of the US Forces Europe Command (USEUCOM) located in the German city of Stuttgart, the West has provided Ukraine with more than 172,000 tons of military equipment and more than 172,000 tons of military equipment. 164 million units of lethal and non-lethal military equipment.

Maintaining such a stable scale, while upgrading the firepower of aid to Ukraine, has become a difficult problem for the West. The challenge this time is no longer political will but reality. The West’s arsenal, and more importantly, its ability to make up for the share of weapons, is limited. The US itself is still straining to deal with energy and inflation pressures, while Europe’s situation is even more worrying.

Ukrainian servicemen carry the French aid Caesar 155 mm cannon, at the Donbass battlefield on June 15.  Photo: AFP.

Ukrainian servicemen carry a French aid 155 mm Caesar cannon at the Donbass battlefield on June 15. Image: AFP.

The longer the war in Ukraine drags on, the closer the European countries most enthusiastic to Kiev come to an end of easy options when it comes to withdrawing their allies’ arsenals of aid, according to Siemon Wezeman, a senior researcher on transition arms delivery at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). Countries are entering the “pocket slope” stage to support Ukraine, especially with heavy artillery.

“At that point, they will start to find themselves out of pocket, have to find a way to fill the void and have to do it as quickly as possible,” he said.

Western allies balked at the offer to support Kiev with advanced and expensive weapons because they saw a dilemma. If not quickly pumped up with heavy weapons such as tanks, armor and long-range artillery, the 7-month investment in Kiev is in danger of falling apart once the Russian army launches a winter counterattack and Ukraine lacks resources. force needed to fight back.

On the other hand, seeing Russia launch a military campaign in Ukraine, European countries realize that they need to adjust their strategies and increase defense investment to protect themselves, avoiding falling into an unexpected scenario.

If transferring advanced weapons to Ukraine, European countries are forced to accept to weaken their defense capacity for a long time because they are unlikely to be able to reproduce or purchase additional quickly enough with the current context. Now, according to Max Bermann, director of the Europe program at the US Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

Also because of the fear of disrupted arms flow, Kiev is focusing diplomatic pressure on Berlin. According to experts, every Western country, including the United States, seems to be looking to Germany to be the pioneer in delivering modern tanks and armor to Ukraine. Kiev also grasped this mentality and wanted to convince Berlin to play a leading role.

“Many European countries think that Germany is already willing to send weapons to Ukraine, so they can send more,” said Nele Marianne Ewwers-Peters, an expert on European security at the University of the Armed Forces. Federation in Hamburg.

However, according to Alexander Graef, a researcher at the Institute for Peace and Security Policy at the University of Hamburg, Berlin does not want to shoulder the responsibility alone.

The German leadership wants the next step of Ukraine’s aid strategy to need consensus and unified action in the West, sharing the burden of sacrificing defense resources. European governments need to change the current model of each country, one type of donation, draw up a plan to coordinate with a longer vision if they do not want to “lose breath”, find solutions to scaling problems. defense industry, balancing the security needs between Ukraine and the EU.

“Supplying arms to Ukraine is a matter of urgency. Ukraine cannot fight without weapons and they want as many weapons as possible. The problem for the West is where to find weapons at this time to deliver them. delivered,” Wezeman said.

Name (Theo Vox)

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