Transporting ammunition and weaponry that may be used to strike Russia is a risk the majority of the US weaponry that has so far been sent to Ukraine is defensive in nature; examples include anti-aircraft and anti-armour systems.
The US government transfers arms and ammunition far too frequently without putting adequate processes in place to assure accountability for their deployment, storage, and usage.
US dominance in worldwide conventional weapons supplies and aid to Ukraine is significantly greater United States continues to be the world’s top supplier of conventional weapons, accounting for approximately 40% of all weapons transfers between 2017 and 2021, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
Transfers of conventional weapons from the US to Ukraine have the same risk of being diverted to other nations and other conflicts.
Another example of the risk of nuclear weapons is the continual use of nuclear threats.
The United States and its allies are still looking for the most efficient military, humanitarian, political, and economic ways to help Ukraine more than ten months after Russia invaded the country.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky allegedly repeated his demand for cutting-edge US armaments during his December 2022 visit to Washington; Ukraine’s wish list includes Abrams tanks and F-16 fighter aircraft. By granting President Zelensky’s request for US combat planes and tanks, the US military commitment to Ukraine would be significantly increased, which could increase the hazards involved with that commitment.
Threats of conventional war outside of Ukraine’s borders and even the potential use of nuclear weapons make the situation precarious, and there is doubt regarding the competence of the weapons suppliers to ensure that the transferred weapons reach their intended uses and are not retransferred.
Transporting ammunition and weaponry that may be used to strike Russia is a risk
The majority of the US weaponry that has so far been sent to Ukraine is defensive in nature; examples include anti-aircraft and anti-armour systems. According to reports, the US has not supplied the longest-range weapons for systems like rocket launchers, making it more challenging for Ukrainian forces to launch attacks far beyond the Ukrainian-Russian border.
Weapons like battle tanks and fighter jets, on the other hand, can be employed offensively, raising the possibility of Russian retaliation against the United States and its European allies. The danger of an escalation may rise, in particular, if Russia is given access to weaponry that can penetrate deep into its territory. In response, Russia might target European nations that have supported Ukraine’s war effort.
The US administration appears to be acting under the implicit assumption that the Russian government will view these transfers as defensive in nature, which is how the US government wants them to be seen. This is not a given and there is no guarantee. Additionally, even if the Russian government does not decide to escalate the situation on purpose, it can nonetheless do so by accident, oversight, or miscalculation. This risk will probably be reduced if US aid is concentrated on defensive weaponry and shorter-range munitions.
Inadequate accountability for the transfer of weapons
The US government transfers arms and ammunition far too frequently without putting adequate processes in place to assure accountability for their deployment, storage, and usage. These weapons may be taken, sold to the highest bidder, or used in other battles if there were weak regulations in place.
Russia’s potential for disclosing US technology through the reverse engineering of US weaponry would be a particular danger if it were to seize US weapons.
The potential for diversion is further increased by the hurried nature of shipments to Ukraine. Increasing the quantity and power of US weapons offered could make these dangers worse.
Additionally, even if US military forces are not currently stationed in Ukraine, they may come into contact with US weapons that have been diverted to other conflicts in the future.
Verifying that only authorised users obtain US weapons and ammunition, closely monitoring the deployment and use of the weapons, and securely storing the weapons and their ammo when not in use can all help to lower the danger of diversion. Destruction of the weapons and ammunition left over after the fight is over can also lessen the amount of attention diverted to new conflicts.
US dominance in worldwide conventional weapons supplies and aid to Ukraine is significantly greater
The United States continues to be the world’s top supplier of conventional weapons, accounting for approximately 40% of all weapons transfers between 2017 and 2021, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). This was almost exactly equal to the total amount of weaponry transferred by the following four nations over the same time period (Russia, France, China, and Germany). Even more pronounced is the US domination in aid to Ukraine.
The US Department of Defense announced the 28th withdrawal of US defence stockpiles to assist Ukraine in August 2021 in conjunction with President Zelensky’s trip to Washington. According to the press release announcing the most recent commitments, the US has given security support worth more than $21 billion since the beginning of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. President Biden signed the omnibus funding measure in late December 2022, adding $47 billion in new military, economic, and humanitarian aid.
On the other hand, the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) reported in a press release on December 30, 2022, that the UK had provided £2.3 billion in military aid in 2022, second only to the US. The MOD also stated that they intended to continue to fund the project at the same level in 2023. This promise represents a very minor portion of US aid.
Transfers of conventional weapons from the US to Ukraine have the same risk of being diverted to other nations and other conflicts. The US has a disproportionate amount of responsibility for the use and potential misuse of weapons since it dominates the supply of weaponry.
Risk of using nuclear weapons
One of the biggest worries throughout the Cold War was the possibility of a conventional conflict turning nuclear. Analysts and political leaders agreed that while this may happen due to intentional action, it could also happen due to an accident or error in judgement.
The warning by Russian President Putin to deploy all available military power in the situation in Ukraine may have increased the possibility of nuclear use today.
Russia may opt to use nuclear weapons in an effort to alter the course of a conventional battle if they are losing it. This risk may rise if the US gives Ukraine weapons made particularly for military purposes.
Another example of the risk of nuclear weapons is the continual use of nuclear threats. This threat will always remain as long as nuclear weapons do. A plan for avoiding this existential threat is provided by the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
Risk of focusing on potential short-term profits while ignoring long-term risks
When combined, these risks show how dangerous it may be to put short-term political and military advantages ahead of long-term unfavourable outcomes.
Before any more weapons are transferred to Ukraine, they must first undergo a thorough investigation of any potential long-term effects. In the short term, accepting Ukraine might be the easier option.
Saying yes, for instance, might strengthen the political ties between the US and Ukraine and increase the revenue generated by the sale of weapons to military contractors. In the long run, nevertheless, that response might jeopardise US security interests.
Analysis by: Advocacy Unified Network