It took several months for Ukraine to prove to partners and allies, as well as to the whole world, its ability to defend itself. As a result, the process of transition of the Ukrainian Armed Forces to more effective NATO standarts has begun.
Our warriors have demonstrated not only the ability to quickly master new weapons, but also to “squeeze” out of them much more than was initially planned by the manufacturer. This was enough for the successful offensive operations in the Kharkiv and Kherson directions in summer and autumn. But this was not enough for the cardinal change of the situation in our favor: the situation showed an urgent need for heavy weapons: air defense and missile defense systems, long-range missiles, tanks and aircraft.
The barbaric shelling of the city of Dnipro on January 14 and the death of dozens of civilians showed that all this is needed now. President Zelensky stressed that Russian terror could only be stopped on the battlefield and with the help of weapons in the warehouses of partners. The current situation is somewhat reminiscent of the beginning of March last year, when Ukrainians and their supporters abroad strongly demanded weapons and ammunition to stop the enemy. Then the world has listened to us and created the “Ramstein format”, which made it possible to turn the war around. Now the same determination is needed on the part of Western leaders, but, unfortunately, this is not observed. Let’s just remember the story around the provision of air defense systems and the Abrams and Leopard tanks. Spain cannot provide Aspide air defense systems to Ukraine due to the Swiss ban. Joseph Biden has not yet decided to start deliveries of Abrams tanks, and the Germans, perhaps, have already become confused themselves with the Leopard-2 tanks. Each of the parties avoids clear action, shifting responsibility to others. At the same time, we must thank British Prime Minister R. Sunak for clear and stable support, in particular, for a battery of Challenger 2 armored personnel carriers, as well as our Polish and Baltic friends, who are not afraid of the cost of supporting Ukraine in its confrontation with the enemy.
Once again, I would like to remind our partners that the provision of effective weapons to Ukraine is not charity, but an act of self-defense of Western democracy, and the refusal to provide it is, accordingly, the sabotage of democracy. The resilience of Ukrainian warriors is helping Western elites buy time and say good bye to the post-bipolar era and prepare for the opportunity to resist the terrorists and barbarians. We understand that our allies and partners have to overcome bureaucratic obstacles and a banal lack of resources. But if Ukraine does not hold the front, then Russian armed killers and rapists will appear on the streets of European cities, and any talk about democracy will lose any meaning.
Fulbright-Kennan Scholar; Professor of the Department of International Relations of Yuriy Fedkovych Chernivtsi National University, Chernivtsi, Ukraine