The Biden administration has been deliberately arming Ukraine. The $625 million military aid package was primarily focused on artillery and ammunition. Concerns that the NASAMS won’t be delivered in time to provide necessary air cover. Western nations are hesitant to give up their highly developed missile defence systems. The U.S. has given Ukraine air defence radars in addition to the two NASAMS.
In April, the United States helped Slovakia transport an S-300 air defence system. The system’s NATO allies have been cautious about where and when to place their batteries. The attack in Zaporizhzhia “represents a point of no return for the [Russian] leadership,” says Michael Kofman. The topic is anticipated to come up at NATO’s defence ministers’ meeting next week.
This week, Rasmussen will meet with American leaders in Washington. He is on a mission from Kyiv, where he collaborated with Andriy Yermak, the top advisor to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, to create the Kyiv Security Compact. The strategy calls for Western nations to pledge long-term security assurances with Ukraine, including consistent material support for the conflict and the reconstruction of the Ukrainian defence sector so that it can produce and supply its weapons in the years to come.
He continued, “We must supply all the resources Ukrainians require to defend themselves against those Russian missile attacks.
The $625 million military aid package unveiled Tuesday by the Biden administration was primarily focused on precise artillery and rocket systems and ammunition, not new air defence capabilities. As Ukrainian forces continue their counteroffensives over the coming weeks, those weapons and ammunition will be essential.
However, according to representatives of the Defense Department, Kyiv will get two National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems from Raytheon by November. The systems can destroy helicopters, missiles, and drones, which is exactly what Ukraine needs.
However, there are concerns that those systems, together with the other six that will be ordered and deployed in the future, won’t be delivered in time to provide Ukraine with the necessary air cover.
One Ukrainian consultant who requested anonymity to discuss the delivery of armaments claimed that the first two NASAMS this fall “are not sufficient air defence.” “This is not a Stinger’s discussion. We’re discussing something with a middle and higher range.
Those weapons will probably take some time to arrive. Western nations are hesitant to give up their highly developed missile defence systems. Additionally, it takes years to hire contractors, construct them, and train crews to run them.
The Biden administration has been deliberately arming Ukraine, providing artillery and ammunition for the current conflict and entering into contracts with the defence sector for weapons like NASAMS. The two-pronged approach, according to officials, satisfies Kyiv’s urgent demands while ensuring a steady supply of weapons in the years to come. The US is also in private discussions with Ukraine and the defence sector regarding possible future acquisitions of Patriot batteries and F-16 fighter jets.
A senior Defense Department official responded that the United States has also given Ukraine air defence radars in addition to the two NASAMS when asked for comment on the Ukrainians’ requests for the winter. In April, the United States helped Slovakia transport an S-300 air defence system. Subsequently, the United States, Germany, and the Netherlands sent Patriot battery deployments to Slovakia to support the nation’s air defence.
Because commanders worldwide demand the weapon, Patriot batteries have long been the most frequently deployed units in the U.S. Army. The U.S. and its allies have notoriously low stock of Patriot air defence weapons. The system’s NATO allies have also been cautious about where and when to place their batteries.
According to a DoD official, the threats to civilians will be greater than ever if Putin resumes his missile campaign against vital infrastructure since “Russian inventories of precision-guided bombs are running low. Thus assaults are becoming even more indiscriminate.”
The individual stated, “Russia has targeted civilian infrastructure throughout this campaign, so it’s not a jump to imagine they will continue.” Still, he asked to remain anonymous to discuss internal discussions.
And Russian rockets do keep missing. Last Friday’s attack, one of the bloodiest in recent months, left at least 30 people dead and over 100 injured when Russian missiles struck a convoy of civilian vehicles close to the southern Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhia. Amnesty International verified that the trucks delivered aid far from the front lines.
It is hard to defend against missile attacks launched from Russian submarines in the Black Sea and long-range bombers flying near Ukraine’s borders, given the country’s immense size and hundreds of kilometres of front lines.
However, the lack of capabilities is not limited to Ukraine, leading to further delays in shipping equipment there. According to Tom Karako at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the United States and its allies have “deprioritized short-range air defence and homeland cruise missile defence, and regional cruise missile defence is considerably behind.” “So what can we learn from Ukraine? There seems to be a significant need for air defence that cannot be met fast.
However, Karako added, “We don’t only have stuff sitting in the barn” for cruise and ballistic missile defence. “We can help the Ukrainians with Javelins and Stingers since they’ve been sitting in the barn for decades.”
The attack in Zaporizhzhia strikes at the core of Ukrainian worries and the challenge of foreseeing Putin’s next steps. The attack occurred the same day Russia said it was annexing four Ukrainian provinces, despite Ukrainian forces’ ongoing incursions into those regions.
The Kremlin is forced into a position by Putin’s announcement and assuring that he will protect Russian territory. According to Michael Kofman of the CNA think tank, it “represents a point of no return for the [Russian] leadership where their limited war aims are fundamentally incompatible with Ukraine’s and now cannot be readily amended.”
Rasmussen claimed that German-made Leopard tanks are one of the capabilities that can be provided to Ukraine reasonably fast and in large quantities. Still, Berlin refuses to do so, citing the absence of heavy armour donated by other significant powers.
The topic, along with air defences, is anticipated to come up at NATO’s defence ministers’ meeting the following week in Brussels. The event will also host a 50-nation Ukraine Defense Contact Group meeting, which will discuss how to prepare Ukraine for the war’s subsequent phases and the upcoming long, unsettling winter.
Rasmussen stated, “As a European, I’m ashamed by what I would consider minor European contributions” to the conflict in Ukraine. “Although I must confess that it has worsened lately, the Germans should do more. The Leopard tanks should be delivered, and France should provide more Caesar mobile howitzers. “The Ukrainians sorely need those capabilities. Therefore I hope the two nations would boost up their efforts.”
The strategy Rasmussen and Yermak presented to Zelenskyy, according to Rasmussen, would eventually relieve pressure on Europe and the United States to give the Ukrainian military equipment by enabling Kyiv to fund its defence through the reconstruction of its battered industrial base. Before travelling to Europe to present the idea, Rasmussen began his tour of the Western capitals in Washington, where he paid visits to the White House and Capitol Hill.
It’s crucial to convey to Putin that the West is providing more than just a year’s worth of weapons delivery and that we are not planning to send soldiers into Ukraine. Long-term, “it’s actually to make them capable of protecting themselves.”
Analysis by: Advocacy Unified Network