Military equipment loads into a truck in Kyiv, Ukraine, February 11, 2022 (AFP/Sergei SUPINSKY)
The balancing act of the United States, which provides significant military assistance to Ukraine while doing everything to avoid spillover of the conflict to other countries, is becoming more and more difficult to maintain, at a time of increasing images of abuses attributed to the Russian military. She is on the rise.
Since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the United States has flooded Ukraine with light weapons, such as shoulder-fired Javelin anti-tank missiles, but has always refused to hand over the weapons. heavy weapons, including combat aircraft, arguing that this “could be seen as a single influence” and raise the risk of a nuclear conflict with Russia.
They regularly invoke US technologies unfamiliar to the Ukrainians to justify the limited range of weapons they supply, instead appealing to the former Soviet bloc countries that still possess Russian-made weapons.
But after the Russian military’s military setbacks and war crimes attributed to it, the Pentagon finds itself under pressure from elected officials, both Republicans and Democrats, to do more to help Kyiv defeat Russia.
A Ukrainian soldier in Irbin, Ukraine, on March 12, 2022 (AFP/Aris Messinis)
“It seems to me that our strategy often sounds like a schizophrenia: We want the Ukrainians to win over Russia, but we fear Putin’s loss will lead to an escalation,” influential Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal said Thursday. Senior US military officials.
Lamenting in particular that the Pentagon did not facilitate the delivery of the MIG-29 in Kyiv, Republican Senator Kevin Cramer added, “Are we wondering if Vladimir Putin ever feared that his massacres of women and children would be an escalation?”
– Training and logistics –
Apart from closing the airspace guaranteed by NATO with the risk of direct confrontation with the Russian Air Force, the Pentagon’s options are actually limited: the heavy weapons of the United States are incompatible with the weapons available to the Ukrainian army, and training Ukrainian soldiers to handle them will take them off the battlefield for several weeks, When a major Russian offensive is being prepared against the areas of Donbass that are not controlled by Moscow.
The Pentagon says Abrams tanks, for example, are powered by an extremely fuel-intensive turboprop that requires massive logistical support, and targeting them with lasers requires extensive training.
A US Army M1A2 Abrams tank during a military exercise in Novo Selo, Bulgaria, May 31, 2021 (AFP/Nikolay DOYCHINOV)
The A-10 “Warthog” fighter jet, which Blumenthal cited as a potential addition to Ukraine’s military assistance, is known for its flexibility and ability to return to its base with extensive damage. But the pilots must be trained for several weeks, and above all, an entire logistics chain must be established to ensure its maintenance.
In response to criticism from elected officials, the White House has released a comprehensive list of equipment supplied to Ukraine so far: 1,400 Stinger anti-aircraft system, 5,000 Javelin anti-tank missiles, 7,000 other anti-tank weapons, several hundred drones, and the Switchblade suicide. Grenade launchers, 7,000 assault rifles, 50 million different bullets and ammunition, 45,000 batches of flak jackets and helmets, laser-guided missiles, Puma drones, anti-artillery and anti-drone radars, light armored vehicles, secure communications systems, anti-drone Mine protection.
A Pentagon spokesman, John Kirby, voiced sharp criticism on Friday.
“The idea that we’re not doing enough or fast enough makes us very angry,” he said.
Depuis son arrivée à la Maison Blanche, le président Joe Biden a débloqué 2,4 milliards de dollars pour l’assistance militaire à Kiev, “ce qui est presque autant que le budget de la défense de l’Ukraine”, at- he adds.
It is reported that in addition to the weapons supplied to Kyiv, the United States increased the number of its military personnel in Europe from 80,000 to 100,000 in mid-February and sent a Patriot anti-aircraft battery to Slovakia to replace the Russian-made S-300 system that Kirby stressed, which the city of Bratislava delivered to Kyiv, states that the efforts were “unprecedented”.
He noted that “no other country has the logistics to do this. No other country has the resources to do so.” At the same time, we keep in mind that Russia is a nuclear power.”