Putin will win if the West does not send offensive weapons to Ukraine – Tips & Results

The latest round of negotiations between Russia and Ukraine earlier this week prompted cautious optimism in some circles, but it’s far too early to talk about real progress towards peace. On the contrary, all signs on the ground point to Russian preparations for new major offensives in eastern and southern Ukraine. With the outcome of the war still very much in doubt, it is vital that Western leaders remain focused on the overarching goal of facilitating Vladimir Putin’s decisive defeat.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine is a challenge to the entire international order and must not succeed even partially. Instead of pursuing the illusionary relief of a compromise solution, the democratic world must seek to impose devastating costs on the Kremlin. In practice, this means the implementation of far tougher economic sanctions while providing Ukraine with dramatically improved arms supplies that will enable the country to defeat Russia on the battlefield.

Though the war is now in its second month, there still seems to be a lingering lack of recognition in many western capitals that Ukraine must receive vastly larger quantities of arms without further delay. It is also time to reconsider the types of weapons supplied to Ukraine. Up to this point, the focus has been on defensive weapons and the type of handguns required to lead an insurgency. However, Ukraine now has to win a conventional war and needs large supplies of offensive weapons. Primarily this means tanks, artillery and multiple missile systems.

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A popular war anecdote sums up the absurdity of the current situation. Ukrainian pranksters claim that the country’s main arms supplier is now the Russian Federation, due to the vast amount of Russian tanks and other military equipment captured by Putin’s invading force in the first month of the war. Like all good jokes, such hoaxes testify to the bitter truth that Ukraine’s partners are not doing nearly enough to arm the country.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy recently gave a glimpse of the magnitude of this deficit when he explained that Ukraine typically consumes a week’s worth of international arms shipments in less than 24 hours. This is clearly unsustainable in a long campaign against a military superpower.

Based on the evidence of Ukraine’s performance in the first month of the war, the country’s partners should be reassured that providing more arms makes sense. According to the Pentagon, Ukraine has used US-provided Javelin missiles very efficiently. Other anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons have proven equally effective in Ukrainian hands. Ukraine has also repeatedly demonstrated its ability to take on and defeat Russian forces, with Putin’s invading force suffering catastrophic casualties in both man and machine.

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Despite the many arguments for increased arms sales to Ukraine, there are still clear signs of hesitation. This is largely due to long-standing Western fears of provoking Putin. I recall similarly exhaustive discussions a few years ago over the delivery of the first US spears to Ukraine, which critics claimed were viewed by Moscow as “too escalating”. In reality, nothing is more likely to provoke Putin into further escalation than leaving Ukraine isolated and unarmed.

Other critics of increasing arms sales to Ukraine argue that the international focus right now should be on humanitarian rather than military assistance. This is short-sighted and fails to recognize that the two issues cannot meaningfully be separated in the context of the current conflict. By giving Ukraine more weapons, the international community will enable the Ukrainian military to defend civilians, force Russian troops to withdraw and stem the flow of refugees into the European Union. In other words, the quickest way to end the humanitarian crisis is to end the war.

Ukraine is currently in dire need of quick political decisions in Western capitals to arm the country with a wide range of offensive weapons. This is the only measure that can realistically stop Putin in Ukraine. It is useless to expect Ukrainian concessions at the negotiating table to please Russia. Indeed, such thinking is far more likely to embolden Putin and lead to further acts of international aggression in Ukraine and beyond.

Putin has proved in words and deeds that his main war aim remains the destruction of Ukrainian sovereignty and Ukrainian national identity. He insists that Ukrainians are in fact Russians and refuses to recognize Ukraine’s right to an independent existence from Russia. Putin will pursue these criminal targets until he is stopped. If the west does not provide Ukraine with enough weapons in the near future, there may soon be no Ukraine to defend.

Alyona Getmanchuk is director of the New Europe Center think tank and non-resident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center.

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The views expressed in UkraineAlert are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Atlantic Council, its staff, or its supporters.

the of the Eurasia Center Mission is to enhance transatlantic cooperation in promoting stability, democratic values ​​and prosperity in Eurasia, from Eastern Europe and Turkey in the west to the Caucasus, Russia and Central Asia in the east.

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Picture: A Ukrainian soldier holds a Javelin missile system at a position on the front line in North Kyiv region. March 13, 2022. (REUTERS/Gleb Garanich)

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