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Few people would have given Ukraine much hope on when the Russian invasion began. Surprisingly, over two months later, Europe’s biggest landmass country is still free and sovereign. The world’s second-largest army has been humiliated in the battlefield. The main objective: capturing Kyiv, killing President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, and installing another puppet government, has failed. Given these facts, many are wondering if Ukraine is receiving Western aid only in the amount and quality necessary to not collapse, but not enough to defeat Russia.
The Russian occupiers have lost 25% of their invading forces. Among the human losses, have been over 10 high-level Russian military commanders. Military experts concur that when this scenario unfolds, your troops are suffering defeat and forcing them closer to the front lines. There are many reasons one can give to explain the field superiority of the Ukrainians. Russia’s army is stiff and follows a highly centralized military structure. The Ukrainians, on the other hand, have brilliantly adopted Napoleonic strategies which exploits chaos and renders flexibility to field commanders. The numbers speak for themselves. Given this fact, why is the U.S. and NATO withholding their most advanced offensive weaponry?
American intelligence has been pivotal in partially explaining this epic Ukrainian success story. Logistics alone, however, will not suffice. On the military front, Ukraine has been requesting Patriot missiles, fighter jets, and smart offensive missiles to capitalize on Russia’s vulnerabilities. This has not come about. Defensive weapons seem to be the thrust of the West’s generosity. Wars are not won, however, limited to defensive infliction. It is a good thing that Ukrainian military commanders have been given autonomy in making military decisions in the field, instead of receiving instructions from Brussels or Washington.
The economic sanctions against the Putin regime have been spectacular. While it is true that these similar measures have no historic precedent, they are still insufficient. Since Russia invaded Ukraine, the West has transferred $66 billion in fossil fuel related purchases to the Russian dictator. This helps fund the Russian war machine. This finances the Russian genocide against the Ukrainian nation. The West’s financial institutions have limited Putin’s banks, but they have not derailed them totally. This leaves avenues that allow the evasion of the West’s intention of denying Russia the resources to continue its aggression. Everyone knows what needs to be done. Since the Soviet days, the Eurasian depends on oil and gas exports for their survivability. The U.S. and oil producing allies have the capability to replace the Russian market. Why isn’t this happening?
If one accepts the argument that the West does not want the legitimate government of Ukraine to collapse, but it also does not want Russia to be defeated, the issue becomes a tragic paradox. One could make the argument that a prolonged war in Ukraine could bleed the Putin regime to death, resulting in its overthrow. Those that take this view are using Ukrainian lives and wealth for this purpose. Another position is that if Putin is defeated, the Russian dictator will go ballistic and make true on his nuclear blackmail. This defeatist position, which is antithetical to the West’s Cold War strategy of Mutually Assured Destruction, casts aside the very nature of the victory of democracy and capitalism over Soviet communism.
The West must stop this piecemeal approach to aiding Ukraine. The immorality of using the Ukrainian people as pawns to crush the Putin regime goes against the values which Western civilization represents. The Ukrainian armed forces have already proved that they can defeat the Russian invaders. Since 2014, Ukraine has been preparing for a full-fledged Russian invasion. American and NATO military personnel knew that. They helped train the Ukrainians. Give them the weapons they need and starve the Russian war monster once and for all. Putin’s off ramp will come quicker, the more his regime suffers. Ukraine must not just avoid a collapse. Russia must be defeated in the country they invaded.
Julio M Shiling, political scientist, writer, director of Patria de Martí and The Cuban American Voice, lecturer and media commentator. A native of Cuba, he currently lives in the United States. Twitter: @JulioMShiling // Julio es politólogo, escritor, director de Patria de Martí y The Cuban American Voice. Conferenciante y comentarista en los medios. Natural de Cuba, vive actualmente en EE UU.