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Ukraine: Washington’s balancing act is getting harder – 04/09/2022 at 21:16

Military equipment loaded into a truck in Kiev, Ukraine, February 11, 2022 (AFP/Sergei SUPINSKY)

Military equipment loaded into a truck in Kiev, Ukraine, February 11, 2022 (AFP/Sergei SUPINSKY)

The balancing act of the United States, which is providing Ukraine with significant military support and doing everything it can to prevent the conflict from spreading to other countries, is becoming increasingly difficult to sustain at a time when the image abuses attributed to the Russian military are attributed are emerging.

Since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the United States has showered Ukraine with light weapons, such as shoulder-worn Javelin anti-tank missiles, but they have always refused to transfer weapons. “could be seen as a sole proprietorship” and increase the risk of a nuclear conflict with Russia.

And they regularly rely on U.S. technologies unfamiliar to Ukrainians to justify the limited supply of weapons they supply, relying instead on former Soviet bloc countries that still have Russian-made weapons.

But after the Russian military’s military setbacks and the war crimes attributed to it, the Pentagon is under pressure from elected officials, both Republicans and Democrats, to do more to help Kiev win Russia back.

A Ukrainian soldier in Irpin, Ukraine, on March 12, 2022 (AFP/Aris Messinis)

A Ukrainian soldier in Irpin, Ukraine, on March 12, 2022 (AFP/Aris Messinis)

“It seems to me that our strategy often seems a bit schizophrenic: we want the Ukrainians to win against Russia, but we fear losing Putin will cause an escalation,” influential Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal noted during a congressional hearing on Thursday. US military officials.

“We wonder if Vladimir Putin ever feared that his killings of women and children would be an escalation,” added Republican Senator Kevin Cramer, particularly regretting that the Pentagon has not facilitated the delivery of MIG-29 to Kiev .

– Training and logistics –

Apart from a NATO-guaranteed closure of airspace at the risk of a direct confrontation with the Russian air force, the Pentagon’s capabilities are in fact limited: the heavy armaments of the United States are incompatible with those available to the Ukrainian army, and by training Ukrainian soldiers in their treatment, they would be removed from the battlefield for several weeks as a major Russian attack is being prepared on the regions of Donbass that Moscow does not control.

The Abrams tanks, for example, are powered by a highly fuel-intensive turboshaft engine that requires massive logistical support, and laser targeting requires extensive training, the Pentagon says.

A US Army M1A2 Abrams tank during a military exercise in Novo Selo, Bulgaria, May 31, 2021 (AFP/Nikolay DOYCHINOV)

A US Army M1A2 Abrams tank during a military exercise in Novo Selo, Bulgaria, May 31, 2021 (AFP/Nikolay DOYCHINOV)

The A-10 “Warthog” fighter jet, which Blumenthal cited as a possible addition to military aid to Ukraine, is known for its resilience and ability to return to base with heavy damage. But the pilots have to be trained for a number of weeks and, above all, a whole logistics chain has to be created to guarantee their maintenance.

In response to criticism from elected officials, the White House has released an exhaustive list of equipment supplied to Ukraine so far: 1,400 Stingers anti-aircraft systems, 5,000 Javelin anti-tank missiles, 7,000 other anti-tank weapons, several hundred drones Switchblade suicide bombers, 7,000 rifles, 50 million bullets and various ammunition, 45,000 batches of body armor and helmets, laser-guided missiles, Puma drones, anti-artillery and anti-drone radars, light armored vehicles, secure communications systems, anti-mine protection.

On Friday, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby took offense at the criticism.

“The idea that we’re not doing enough or fast enough really irritates us,” he said.

Since his arrival at the White House, President Joe Biden has allocated $2.4 billion in military aid to Kiev, “almost as much as Ukraine’s defense budget,” he added.

Recalling that, in addition to the weapons supplied to Kiev, the United States increased its military personnel in Europe from 80,000 to 100,000 in mid-February and sent a Patriot anti-aircraft battery to Slovakia to compensate for the Russian-made S-300 system that Bratislava has handed over to Kiev, Mr Kirby stressed that the effort was “unprecedented”.

“No other country has the logistics to do this. No other country has the resources to do this,” he noted. “At the same time, we keep in mind that Russia is a nuclear power.”

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