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  • Writer's pictureAnton Kuchuhidze

International Press Review dated 13 - 17 February 2023

On February, 14 the ninth meeting in the Ramstein format was held in Belgium. As the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky concluded, the partners confirmed their readiness to transfer more air defence systems, tanks, artillery and artillery munitions, as well as to strengthen further training of military personnel. However, a significant part of the agreements is not disclosed for obvious reasons.

On the background of Ramstein-9 negotiations, The Telegraph published a very interesting article about the fact that the Great Britain is considering the possibility of producing weapons and military vehicles in Ukraine. Undoubtedly, this is a significant strengthening of relations between Great Britain and Ukraine. In addition, as noted in the article, other European defence companies were also conducting negotiations with Ukraine in this area.

The Washington Post writes about how the USA supports Ukraine. The article emphasizes the need to support Ukraine until the end, because the most likely alternative is not peace, but rather another frozen conflict that is beneficial to russia. In addition to that, the article notes that with the lessons learned on the Ukrainian battlefield, the US military can emerge better equipped, trained and prepared to defeat its enemies.

I have repeatedly spoken about the evolution of the support of Western partners for Ukraine. This week, US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin also emphasized the gradual increase in support for Ukraine from Western partners. The Washington Post quoted the Secretary of Defence as saying that just a few months ago, no one expected deliveries of air defence systems, then tanks, and later possibly even bigger and more powerful equipment for the Ukrainian army.

CNN published an interview with General Petraeus, the former head of the CIA, who named the conditions under which the war in Ukraine would end. The general said that in May and early June, when the Ukrainian army is most likely to launch a counteroffensive, it will show a completely different level of warfare in stark contrast to what russia is showing today. The general emphasizes that it is necessary to do everything possible in the USA and in the West to support Ukraine and get closer to the day when vladimir putin will understand that this war cannot continue on Ukrainian soil and that it is not profitable. Petraeus is confident that the rucists completely underestimated the capabilities of the Ukrainian military, the determination of Ukrainians, and the support of Kyiv from the United States, other NATO countries, and Western partners.

The week seemed quite progressive and dynamic. There is no complete information so fare regarding the strengthening of our country's defence capabilities, but we expect to see that the Ramstein-9 meeting will result in the significant gains of Ukraine in the near future on the battlefield.

"Ukraine has urgent requirements to help it meet this crucial moment in the course of the war. We believe there'll be a window of opportunity for them to exercise initiative," Austin told a meeting of defence ministers of NATO and other allies of Ukraine to discuss options for more military aid.

"The Kremlin is still betting it can wait us out, but one year on we are as united as ever. That shared resolve will help sustain Ukraine's momentum in the crucial weeks ahead."

Promised battle tanks last month, Ukraine is also desperate for fighter jets and longer-range missiles soon to nip any significant new Russian offensive in the bud and help turn the tide against Moscow's far superior firepower.

Our support for Ukraine can also save American money and lives in the long run. A sizable portion of our outlays will be spent on replacing the older weapons and materiel we’ve sent to Ukraine with newer equipment for our troops. Along with lessons learned from the Ukrainian battlefield, our military can emerge better equipped, trained and prepared to defeat our adversaries.

War is always expensive, but we must measure the current costs against the greater potential cost of wider war in Europe or Asia. The Ukrainians are fighting their own war, with no American troops engaged in direct combat—which won’t be the case if irresolution in Ukraine tempts our enemies to attack a NATO ally or Taiwan. Had the West retaliated when Germany remilitarized the Rhineland in 1936, that small operation might’ve seemed expensive and risky at the time, but it likely would’ve prevented world war.

British weaponry and military vehicles could be manufactured in Ukraine under plans that would mark a deepening of the country’s ties with Nato.

Senior UK defence industry officials are discussing the plans with their counterparts in Kyiv, with any deal likely to be seen as a significant strengthening of Britain’s relationship with Ukraine.

British executives have travelled there with a view to setting up joint ventures that would manufacture arms and vehicles locally under licence.

Other European defence companies are also in talks with Ukraine, with British companies keen not to be beaten to the punch by French and German rivals. A race is on to put the UK “at the front of the queue”, one executive told The Telegraph.

“What Ukraine wants to do at the first possible moment is to ... create momentum and establish conditions on the battlefield that continue to be in its favor,” U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said at a news conference.

“We believe there will be a window of opportunity” for Kyiv’s forces to break through what is essentially a static front line, Austin said. But the effort to bring needed ammunition, as well as new and additional air defense and armor systems to the battlefield, even as they train the Ukrainians to use it, “is a monumental task,” he said.

A senior Biden administration official said there had been “an evolution in the nature of support” from the aid coalition. “I remember the days when we thought Patriots were never going to happen,” the official said, referring to sophisticated Patriot air defense systems that the United States, Germany and the Netherlands have now agreed to supply. “I think everybody is looking around the table and saying what more” can be provided.

Petraeus, who criticized the Biden administration’s withdrawal of Afghanistan, strikes a different tone on Ukraine. He says the President’s team has done a very impressive job of leading NATO and the West to counter the Russian invasion, though there have been times he would have liked to have seen decisions to provide certain weapons systems (such as western tanks and longer-range precision munitions) made sooner than they were.

The enormous US and western support of Ukraine means, Petraeus observes, that while the Russians may be preparing to send hundreds of thousands of soldiers into Ukraine in a new offensive, they will face off in the coming months with better-trained and better-organized Ukrainian soldiers armed with American longer-range missiles, armored vehicles and a tremendous amount of ammunition. And Petraeus says his money is still on the Ukrainians.

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