Javelins and Stingers can stop a new war in Ukraine? [KOMENTARZ]

On the other hand, Moscow has been using its propaganda channels for several months to create a media reality in which Ukraine and the US are aggressors destabilizing the situation in the entire Black Sea basin together with NATO allies. Ukraine is presented de facto as a tool of US military pressure and aggressor in Donbas. Russian pro-government media and Kremlin trolls propagate false information about attacks on civilian targets and Ukraine’s violation of the demarcation zone arrangements as reasons for the unstable situation and the lack of agreement on a peaceful solution to the conflict. There were false reports of massive Ukrainian artillery shelling and plans to exit Kiev from the “Minsk format”. Photos and recordings from months and years ago are presented as evidence of the aggressive actions of the Ukrainian army or the concentration of its forces in the Donbas. Similarly, some reports about the concentration of Russian troops and columns in areas controlled by the so-calledseparatists these are fakes illustrated with archival films.

A vision of the threat posed by the USA and NATO to Russia’s security is also being built. For several months, the Russian media has been carefully counting every plane and drone approaching the borders of the Russian Federation. Weekly messages provide information on the number and always state that “Russia’s airspace has not been breached.” This builds the reader’s belief that there is a real threat to “airspace” and the impression that “maybe not this time, but …” US nuclear weapons. “

Of course, the Russians do not see any connection here either with the concentration of their own troops near Ukraine, or with the flights of their own Tu-160 and Tu-95 bombers over Belarus and near the borders of NATO countries. All this hype overlaps with reports of the Western media about the concentration of Russian troops, the construction of the migration crisis on the Polish-Belarusian border, and the risk of transferring this threat to the border with Ukraine.

Photo  mil.ru
Photo mil.ru

The US is negotiating support for Kiev and further sanctions against Moscow with its allies. The message from the Biden administration on this issue is as strong and as clear as ever. – “We are afraid that Russia may make a serious mistake in trying to repeat what it did in 2014, when it gathered forces along the border, violated the sovereign territorial territory of Ukraine and did so by falsely claiming that it was provoked,” said Secretary of State Antonius Blinken. A clear message is also delivery to Kiev by air in October and November in total four large military support transports, including Javelin anti-tank missiles. Two patrol units for the Ukrainian fleet have also been delivered in recent days. Further support is also planned.

Stingers, Javelins and “Afghan souvenirs” for Ukraine?

In Washington, work is underway not only on the Senate’s bill on further tightening of sanctions against Russia, and negotiations with European allies. As reported by CNN, the Department of Defense suggests that some equipment that was previously destined for Afghanistan to be shipped to Ukraine instead. I am talking mainly about the Mi-17 helicopters (Mi-17W-5 to be exact, an export variant of the Mi-8MTW-5 equipped with a rear ramp and a slightly different shape of the nose part), which have recently been landfilled in the USA. Interestingly, at least one vehicle is currently being renovated by the Ukrainian Motor Sich plant, which, despite Russian protests, was selected for repairs and servicing of these machines.

Other machines could also hit Ukraine, such as helicopters and planes that escaped from Afghanistan to Uzbekistan after the withdrawal of US forces and the collapse of the government. Among them are, among others. several Mi-8/17 and 6 Embraer EMB-314 (A-29) Super Tucano training and combat machines. Ukraine is interested in acquiring these aircraft, which was evident, among others, in during this year’s Arms and Security exhibition in Kiev, where Embraer was the main patron and a Super Tucano advertisement adorned the exhibition hall. This option has, or at least until recently, had strong support in the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense. The planes would replace the partially worn L-39s as training planes, but they could also be useful for combat tasks in an asymmetric conflict.

Mi-17W-5 of the Afghan armed forces / Photo.  Staff Sgt. Todd Pouliot / US Army
Mi-17W-5 of the Afghan armed forces / Photo. Staff Sgt. Todd Pouliot / US Army

Among the arms transfer proposals for Ukraine, however, the guided missiles are of the greatest interest. The anti-tank Javelins are already in the equipment of the armed forces, and despite numerous actions by Moscow, aimed both at depreciating their effectiveness and accusing the US of arming the “fascists from Kiev”, deliveries have not been suspended. Recent air transports include a number of these missiles, which can be effective against the vast majority of Russian vehicles, including the T-80 and T-90 tanks. Their significant advantage is also the fact that they do not require the operator to guide them to the target during the flight, thanks to which he can leave the station immediately after firing.

The second type of rocket that they warm up the imagination, are American manual anti-aircraft launchers (MANPADS) of the Stinger type. Rockets of this type, famous primarily for use against the Russian air force in Afghanistan in the 1980s. Currently, the next generations of these missiles are still used by the US Army and many US allies. They can fight both helicopters and low-flying planes. Therefore, they would pose a significant threat to Russian aviation if used in a possible conflict in the east or south of Ukraine. The only question is, is the threat of conflict really that high?

Scarecrows or another war?

The concentration of Russian forces near the borders with Ukraine and in the Crimea the fact remains, but it is an open question how they will be used. Reports by US and Ukrainian intelligence services, cited by both politicians and the media, warn that Russia will be ready for a massive offensive in this area at the turn of December and January. A possible good date may be the period around the Orthodox Christmas or a little later. Russian rhetoric is, as I wrote before, quite complex. On the one hand, creating a threat to Russia’s security from NATO and Ukraine in the media. On the other hand, Russian diplomacy is increasingly louder that the best solution to the crisis in eastern Ukraine are talks, and multilateral at that.

Photo  mil.ru
Photo mil.ru

“The US Department of State, through diplomatic channels, provides its allies and partners with absolutely untrue information about the concentration of forces on the territory of our country for the purpose of military invasion of Ukraine,” says Sergei Ivanov, head of the press office of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SWR). In contrast to Russia’s earlier statements that troop movements within its territory are an internal affair, this would suggest that some disturbing movements are taking place. One can get the impression that these are contradictory narratives, but they lead, in conjunction with the situation in Belarus and sharp “defensive” rhetoric, towards certain common goals.

On the one hand, the Kremlin creates a vision for the purposes of its domestic policy “Besieged fortress” surrounded by hostile alliances, which, in addition, are arming their former allies and even brothers (Ukraine), on the other hand they threaten and wrongfully accuse Russian allies and brothers (Belarus). Contrary to appearances, it is connected with the energy crisis, or if you prefer, the Kremlin’s “gas weapons”.

The common denominator is that Russia is trying to win concessions to its demands on all fronts. Both in terms of greater dependence of Western Europe on Russian gas and the launch of Nord Stream 2, while taking away Ukraine’s income from transfer, as well as military and diplomatic issues. The gas and migration pressure is also intended to force Europe to talk to Lukashenka, i.e. to de facto legitimize his position, which was undermined after the recent elections.

Photo  mil.gov.ua
Photo mil.gov.ua

In the Ukrainian direction goals can be divided into “great” and “small”. The smaller or more temporary ones include creating Kiev and, indirectly, Washington as responsible for the current situation, rather hotly with politics and the number of troops, but not with the temperature of the conflict itself on the demarcation line, which has had similar dynamics for many months and it is not as large as at the beginning of the year. Shocking with great forces is to increase the impression of an inevitable offensive. This is mainly to force the EU to put pressure on Kiev, which would result in talks and “normalization” of relations with Russia, which in fact means concessions to Moscow’s conditions to end the conflict in the Donbas and, for example, restore water supplies to Crimea. This would not only create a dangerous precedent, but also the appearance of a stabilizing role for Russia, and lead to achieving the main goals of strengthening Moscow’s position in European politics and gaining greater influence on the situation in the Black Sea region on its own terms.

War or Peace?

It should be noted that, contrary to Russia’s vision of its enormous own forces and Kiev’s weakness, the military and political situation is completely different than in 2014. A possible combat operation in the east or south-east of Ukraine will encounter real and coordinated resistance from the Ukrainian armed forces. Currently, they are much better equipped, armed and equipped, and above all, better organized and commanded. Most of the officers have had combat experience and often training and exercises by NATO allies. Both on its own and on the western training grounds. The morale and political background are also different.

Obviously, Ukraine is not able to gather enough forces to win such a conflict, but if it breaks out, even on a limited scale, it will be much more expensive in terms of people and equipment for the Russian side than the war that led to the formation of the so-called “DPR” and “DRL” republics. LPR “. The political, diplomatic and economic costs will also be much greater. So it is for Moscow a game for a very high stakewinning by the military method is very risky and the finale is uncertain. The only thing that could change this situation is leaving Ukraine on its own. At present, however, this is an unlikely scenario. In order to reduce this risk, it should be emphatically emphasized that supporting Ukraine in its transformations and ensuring territorial integrity it is in the well-understood interest of all of Europe, especially of the countries bordering Russia. There is no guarantee that after Ukraine the time will not come for the Baltic states or other states that the Kremlin propagandists consider to be “temporary whims of history” and part of their natural sphere of influence.


About Banner Leon

Videogames entered his life in the late '80s, at the time of the first meeting with Super Mario Bros, and even today they make it a permanent part, after almost 30 years. Pros and defects: he manages to finish Super Mario Bros in less than 5 minutes but he has never finished Final Fight with a credit ... he's still trying.

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