The list of arms that flow to Ukraine is growing and long. It includes the latest American battlefield aerial drones, the most advanced U.S. artillery and Canadian artillery, as well as anti-tank weapons, including those from Norway and other countries, and armored vehicles. There are also anti-ship missiles coming from Britain, and Stinger counterair missiles that come from the U.S., Denmark, and other countries.
The Russians can't hold Ukraine off, but the accumulating arsenal Western weapons could have a transformational effect on a country that, like many other former Soviet republics has relied heavily on Soviet-era arms and equipment.
It won't be simple to sustain military aid. It's expensive and, for some suppliers, it can be politically risky. It is also being pulled from Western stockpiles, which will eventually need to be replenished. U.S. Defense secretary Lloyd Austin held a meeting Tuesday at Germany’s Ramstein airbase to discuss ways to maintain it, both now and in the future. Around 40 military leaders and defense ministers from around 40 countries attended.
Austin stated that Germany had agreed that 50 Cheetah anti aircraft weapons would be sent to Ukraine. He also said that the meeting helped unify the West's efforts in helping Ukraine win today and build strength for the future.
Austin stated, "We have to move at war speed."
Austin stated that the goal of the conference is to not only support Ukrainian defenses, but also to help them defeat an invading force. He stated that Ukraine's allies would "keep moving heavens and earth" in order to meet Ukraine’s immediate security needs.
After returning from a visit in Kyiv with Antony Blinken, Austin stated Monday that he believes they can win, provided they have the right equipment and support. This included a discussion about Ukraine's military requirements. The goal is to see Russia "weakened to the extent that it cannot do the same things it did in invading Ukraine."
Despite its initial failures, the Russian military still has some advantages that will be tested in the eastern Donbas area. They are building more combat troops and firepower while the U.S., its NATO allies, scramble to get heavy weaponry and artillery to the region in time to make an impact.
The outcome of the war is uncertain after two months of fighting. The Pentagon has provided 90 U.S. Army's latest howitzers and 183,000 rounds artillery to the Ukrainians. This weaponry could be crucial in the upcoming battles. The U.S. is also providing more training to Ukrainians in key weaponry such as howitzers and at most two types of armed drone aircraft.
Monday's announcement by Austin and Blinken was $713 million in foreign military funding for Ukraine and 15 allied or partner countries in Europe. Some $322 million has been earmarked for Kyiv in part to assist Ukraine in its transition to better weapons and air defense system. Officials said that the rest will be divided among NATO members and other countries that have supplied Ukraine with vital military supplies since the start of the war with Russia.
This financing is different than previous U.S. military aid for Ukraine. This is not a donation from the Pentagon of weapons and equipment, but cash that can be used by countries to purchase any supplies they may need.
According to the Ukrainians, they require more: long-range air defense systems and fighter jets, tanks, multiple-launch rocket system, as well as multiple-launch rockets systems.
"It will be accurate to say that the United States now leads in ensuring that Ukraine transitions to Western-style weaponry, and in organizing training for Ukrainian soldiers," Dmytro Kuleba, the Ukrainian Foreign Minister, said. He also added, "And I only regret it didn't take place a month or two before the start of the war."
Philip Breedlove is a former U.S. General who led NATO in Europe between 2013 and 2016. He says that his summary of Putin's intentions in Ukraine and other areas on the Russian Periphery is "Weapons Out, NATO Back, and No America."
"What has actually happened is that Mr. Putin is getting exactly the things he didn't want. Breedlove stated in an interview that Putin is getting more weapons, more NATO, and more America in Europe.
It is clear that the complexity of maintaining Western military aid to Ukraine while its troops are in full conflict with each other, is a reminder of the stakes. Putin stated before the invasion that Moscow would not tolerate a Western effort by Ukraine to become a NATO member de facto. He claimed that Ukraine's desire to westernize and remain outside of Russia's orbit was due "external forces", such as U.S.-led pressure.
Putin demanded Ukraine to forgo membership in NATO. He has also insisted that the clock be rewinded to 1997 before NATO began adding Soviet and Soviet-allied countries to its ranks.
Although there is no prospect of Ukraine joining NATO's, Russia's war has actually brought NATO closer to Ukraine. This has given Ukraine a boost in its prospects of mounting a successful defense. Even in the eastern Donbas, where Russia holds certain advantages and where Russian-backed separatists are fighting since 2014, the result has been positive.