Russia’s full-scale war against Ukraine has been going on for almost a year.
If in February 2022 the Western countries had doubts about whether Ukraine would stand, believed that Kyiv would fall within 72 hours, and did not want to hand over weapons to the Ukrainians, now the situation has changed.
The world understands that Ukraine can stand and that the world order depends on it:
«Western democracies and Eastern autocracies are fighting for the future of world politics, while other countries are waiting on the sidelines to see who will win. If Russia succeeds in achieving its goals, the narrative of the decline of the West will be confirmed and the liberal international order will be dealt a devastating blow. Everyone wins if Ukraine wins,» says Gideon Rose, a distinguished fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, from Foreign Policy.
«The future of Europe depends on the fate of Ukraine,» said Polish general and military expert Waldemar Skzypchak.
However, despite the lack of significant successes on the battlefield, everything indicates that Putin is preparing for a long war.
Bloomberg reports on Russia’s preparations for a new large-scale offensive:
«The Kremlin aims to demonstrate that its forces can regain the initiative after months of losing ground, putting pressure on Kyiv and its backers to agree to some kind of truce that leaves Russia in control of the territory it now occupies, according to officials, advisers, and others familiar with the situation».
Therefore, Ukraine needs more weapons and faster supplies, says President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
However, there are still those who doubt the expediency of transferring weapons to the Ukrainian army and worry about the consequences of military support for Ukraine.
Let’s consider the most common narratives that sound on this occasion.
«Western economies suffer from military aid to Ukraine»
The Emirati Al-Ain says that the biggest problem of supplying weapons to Ukraine is finance, because weapons are very expensive:
«Increasing the defense budget in an economy suffering from inflation comes at the expense of spending cuts in other sectors that affect people’s lives. In Western countries, taxes are an important source of income, so the state must raise taxes for individuals and companies.»
EU countries and institutions have provided €52 billion in military, financial and humanitarian aid until November 2022, the United States — €48 billion.
«Faced with these enormous sums, pro-Russian voices are spreading arguments more than usual to attack the financial aid as misguided or warmongering,» Aljazeera reports.
«Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 prompted a significant reassessment of defense and security in Europe,» reports McKinsey.
However, defense funding has increased in recent years in many European countries, in part due to calls from NATO to increase spending. And, according to McKinsey’s modeling, even if Russia had not increased security concerns by invading Ukraine, European defense spending would have risen from €296 billion in 2021 to €337 billion in 2026, a 14 percent increase.
«Western weapons end up on black markets»
«The risk that equipment could be lost or find its way to illicit markets is dangerously high», Stimson reports.
Almayadeen says that Ukraine resells weapons provided to it by Western countries on the black market.
The Ukrainian Review has already refuted this fake.
«It is necessary to return to diplomacy»
«We need to return to diplomacy» says a representative of the German party Die Linke (The Left) Dietmar Bartsch.
Offering peace is one of the most common positions of Western politicians.
French President Emmanuel Macron often talks about the need for negotiations: «Ukraine President will have to negotiate with Russia at some point.»
Ukrainian high-ranking officials explained why Ukraine cannot go to negotiations.
«Russia does not want negotiations. Russia is conducting a communication campaign called «negotiations». It will simply stop for a while and will train the mobilized forces, find additional weapons and strengthen its positions,» explains Mykhailo Podolyak, Advisor to the Office of the President of Ukraine.
The President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, emphasized this:
«Russia is now looking for a short-term truce — a break to regain strength. Someone would call it the end of the war. But such a pause will only worsen the situation. Any ideas of concessions of our land or our sovereignty, which were once voiced, cannot be called peace. Amoral compromises will lead to new blood. A real long-term and honest peace can only be the result of the complete dismantling of all elements of Russian aggression.»
«The threat of war escalation»
«The supplies of weapons that were made before did not bring peace even a millimeter closer. Will the supply of combat aircraft begin after the supply of tanks? Will the soldiers of the Bundeswehr continue?» — says Dietmar Bartsch.
The Stimson also believes that the supply of more weapons to Ukraine will lead to an escalation of the war:
«The most obvious and immediate risk of the arms build-up in Ukraine is provoking an escalatory spiral with Russia who, at least rhetorically, has suggested that international military support to Ukraine is tantamount to participation in the conflict.»
However, retired British colonel Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, former commander of the British and NATO forces for chemical, biological and nuclear warfare believes:
«Ukrainian troops have already caused such damage to the Russian army that it will not pose a threat to NATO for many years. Therefore, the West must be ready to provide Ukraine with everything necessary to expel Russian soldiers and mercenaries from its territory as soon as possible, until the Russians recover and adapt.»
Therefore, calls not to give Ukraine weapons are spread both by Russian propagandists and stem from the fears of the West itself.
«However, I would not formulate the thesis «the West is afraid of escalation and asks for a truce» so categorically. Yes, the West as we understand it is different. United States have different interests, primarily economic, which we saw before the large-scale Russian invasion on the example of the same «Nord Stream 2», where the interests of Germany were placed above the interests of the European Union and even the security of its neighbors. That is, the actual understanding of benefits was placed above European energy policy and legislation. At the same time, Germany did not want and still does not want to assume, in accordance with its economic weight, a role in ensuring security in Europe. A series of similar mistakes on the part of the «European Union locomotives» sent signals to Moscow that the West is tired of sanctions and would do something to correct the situation. In the Kremlin, this was perceived as the fact that the degree of division of the West is huge and it is not worth expecting effective, rather than declarative, support for Ukraine, and this also influenced the decision to go on a large-scale invasion of Ukraine», — states Anatoliy Kurnosov, expert of the Center for Political Studies «Doctrine».
«At the same time, I agree that Russian propaganda continues its attempts to actively influence Western public opinion. The world, and especially Europe, is suffering from a significant increase in prices, the aggravation of crisis phenomena in the economy due to this war, and the Russians are trying, if not to shift the blame to us, Ukrainians (this is hardly possible), then at least to form a belief in public opinion that it is worth to end hostilities as soon as possible (on Russian terms, of course), so that everything in a prosperous Europe would be as it was before. It is clear that no country, no government, and no adequate people want to fight so that its sons and daughters die. And this is also what Russian propaganda is betting on, threatening the spread of the war to Europe.»