Conflicts & War

Western military aid to Ukraine, a deterrent against Russian attack

Olga Tokariuk

Kiev, Jan 25 (EFE).- Ukraine is better prepared to face a Russian aggression than it was in 2014 when Moscow annexed the Crimean peninsula, but in the event of an attack it expects to strengthen its defenses with weapons sent by the United States, United Kingdom and other countries.

A third shipment of US military assistance arrived in Ukraine on Tuesday in addition to the over 170 tons of weapons delivered over the weekend.

The delivery is part of a $200 million military aid package to Ukraine approved by president Joe Biden in December amid threats of a Russian invasion.

The US has committed more than $650 million of security assistance to Ukraine in the past year and more than $2.7 billion in total since 2014.

“We thank our American partners for the support and practical help. Together we are stronger and the world is safer,” Ukrainian deputy defense minister, Hanna Malyar, wrote on Facebook.

The US is not the only country that has been supplying defensive assistance to Ukraine amid fears of an imminent attack by Russia as Moscow has amassed 100,000 troops on its border with Ukraine in recent months.

The UK announced it would be providing anti-tank weapons to Kiev and has already delivered some 2,000 NLAW anti-tank systems.

The portable weapons would be able to shoot down Russian helicopters and planes in case of an air attack.

The UK military aid has been welcomed in Ukraine with the hashtag #GodSavetheQueen trending on Ukrainian social media.

Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia also said they would provide Ukraine with US-made weapons including anti-armour missiles and Stinger anti-aircraft missiles.

Meanwhile, the Czech Republic’s defense ministry said the country would be providing Kiev with 152-millimeter artillery rounds and was considering sending troops on the ground in case of an attack.

Ukrainian military experts say weapons provided by Western allies serve as a deterrent against Russian aggressive actions, raising the cost of its military intervention.

“This assistance is important, because these are very modern weapons which can with 100% efficiency destroy Russian military hardware,” Mykhailo Samus, director of the New Geopolitics Research Network, said.

“If Russia is aware that its tanks can be destroyed with a single missile hit, it will think twice before launching an operation,” he added.

Foreign military assistance also has “symbolic value” because it shows unity amid difficult circumstances.

But experts say western military aid provided to Ukraine so far does not solve its main problem – the lack of adequate air and missile defense.

While Ukraine has Soviet-era air defense systems, it has no anti-missile system in place.

Russia has stationed at least 13 brigade complexes of Iskander ballistic missiles in close proximity to Ukrainian borders, according to Taras Chmut, head of Ukraine Military Center NGO.

“Ukraine doesn’t own a single anti-missile system able to intercept those types of Russian weapons,” Chmut tells Efe.

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