Home News Kiev asks for more weapons and the West must decide – Pierre Haski

Kiev asks for more weapons and the West must decide – Pierre Haski

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Kiev asks for more weapons and the West must decide – Pierre Haski

“I came with three specific requests,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba declared on 7 April upon his arrival at the NATO summit in Brussels. “Weapons, weapons and weapons”.

This is obviously a theatrical entrance, but one that has the merit of clarity. Ukrainians have understood from the start that no one will go to war for them. Joe Biden, NATO’s “commander-in-chief” said this even before the first shot was fired.

But at least, the Ukrainians say, give us the means to continue our battle, because we are fighting for you too. The more the war goes on, the more this way of presenting the situation gains support in the West, especially after the images of the massacres around Kiev and the stories from Mariupol, which risk persecuting the consciences of Europeans for a long time.

An insurmountable limit
At this point the problem is not to understand if we should hand over weapons to the Ukrainians, because the West already does. The point is to decide which weapons and how far to go.

Since the beginning of the conflict, Western countries have wanted to avoid being considered as “co-belligerents”, that is to formally enter into war with Russia, a nuclear power (and we will never tire of remembering this). This aspect remains an insurmountable limit.

But after six weeks of fighting, this legal subtlety appears increasingly abstract. Western countries have already delivered significant quantities of “defensive” weapons to Ukraine (another diplomatic stunt) and have imposed a series of sanctions that clearly represent hostile gestures towards Russia.

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Ukrainians are perfectly aware of the fact that despite their mobilization they could never have stood up to the Russian army without anti-tank missiles, drones or satellite information provided by NATO countries. The Ukrainians are preparing to enter a decisive phase of the war with the concentration of Russian forces in the Donbass, where a large part of the Ukrainian army is located. A defeat of the Ukrainian forces on this front would allow Vladimir Putin to sing victory, even if his initial plan failed. For Ukraine and NATO it would be a disaster.

The Ukrainian army is therefore asking for additional means to resist the onslaught that will come, and thus the taboos are broken. In recent days, the Czech Republic has discreetly delivered Soviet-origin T-72 tanks from its army and sent by train to Ukraine. Evidently Prague has obtained the authorization of the Americans.

Last week, Ukrainian emissaries discussed the delivery of new Turkish-made drones in Istanbul with Selçuk Bayraktar, the chief designer of manufacturing company Baykar and son-in-law of Turkish president Erdoğan. Last year, the same drones were decisive for Azerbaijan’s advantage in the conflict against Armenia.

The initial modesty about sending heavier weapons to Ukraine is therefore disappearing, even if no one wants to say it out loud. Not all NATO states are on the same wavelength, but none want to go down in history as the country that prevented Ukraine from defending itself. The ghost of the war in Spain, it seems, is still scary.

(Translation by Andrea Sparacino)

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