Monday 13 March 2023

For Putin, the writing is on the wall when it comes to Ukraine

The myth of the world’s second strongest army has shattered outside Kyiv and Kharkiv; the legendary reputations of Russian generals and their ‘fearless’ armies have evaporated in Kherson and Bakhmut.

Failing to succeed on the battlefield, the Russian leadership has resorted to indiscriminate and desperate missile salvoes against Ukraine’s economy and citizenry – increasingly relying upon supplies of brutal armaments from dictatorships like Iran and North Korea.

Yet the longer the war drags on, the clearer it becomes to the world: Russia can no longer win.

The question before the West now is how best to furnish continued support to Ukraine to ensure Russia’s final defeat.

Nearly all stockpiles of Soviet-style equipment owned by NATO countries like Poland have now been transferred to Ukraine; new deliveries require the replacement of the supplied Warsaw Pact weapons with modern NATO models – and this means that NATO’s own massive military-industrial complex must grind into gear.

The orders from NATO governments, then, will not be for tens or hundreds of new pieces of hardware but for many thousands over years. This represents a serious sea-change: By taking this decision, NATO countries will begin the final conversion of their Cold War stockpiles and will then switch to building, storing, and supplying to Ukraine truly modern weapons.

The significance of this is vast: It may prolong the war, but it will also make the defeat of Russia even more catastrophic.

It will also inevitably result in the admission of Ukraine into NATO – not as a junior partner, but as one of the most powerful and potent armies in Europe, fully trained and equipped with modern capabilities. By then, Finland and Sweden will surely also have joined NATO, and NATO’s enlargement (Russia’s scapegoat) will have been affected.

But most importantly of all – if NATO countries ramp up their defence industries to full capacity, we will then have the solution to the final vexing question Russia continues to pose: That of a solid, responsive action plan to the threat of Russian nuclear weapons, whether in the hands of a totalitarian central government or a fragmented, disintegrated, lawless Russia.

The fields of Ukraine have become a catalyst of world change, and it is our responsibility to ensure that this change sees no room for ageing dictators and their Cold War world order.


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