Ukrainian War, June 13, 2022: Insufficient weapons deliveries lead Ukraine to fear defeat in Donbas; Allies will face hard decisions

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To see a list of previous articles, enter “Ukraine” in the Search Box on the upper right, on The Trenchant Observer web site, and you will see a list in chronological order.

Dispatches

1) Yaroslav Trofimov and Stephen Fidler, “Ukraine Fears Defeat in East Without Surge in Military Aid; Russia advances in Donbas region as U.S., allies prepare to discuss new heavy-weapons supplies for Kyiv,” Wall Street Journal, June 13, 2012 (12:01 am ET);

2) Thomas Gibbons-Neff and Matina Stevis-Gridneff, “As cities in eastern Ukraine teeter, the West is facing tough questions, New York Times. June 13, 2022 (1:15 a.m. ET);

3) Alfred Hackensberger, “Diese entscheidende Maßnahme hat Putin in der Ukraine versäumt,” Die Welt den 13. Juni 2022 h07:45 Uhr):

4) Peter Beinart,”Is Biden’s Foreign Policy Team the Best of ‘the Blob’?” New York Times, June 2, 2022;

5) “Ukraine War, April 28, 2022 (II): The cost of delay–heavy weapons may not reach the front in time,” The Trenchant Observer, April 28, 2022.;

6) Steven Erlanger, “Ukraine, outgunned in the east, is turning up the pressure on Europe for help,” New York Times, June 13, 2022;

7) Daniel Friedrich Sturm, “Was hinter Bidens kritischen Bemerkungen über Selenskyj steckt,” Die Welt den 13. Juni 2022 (14:39 Uhr);

8) Steven Erlanger, “On Russia, Europe Weighs Competing Goals: Peace and Punishment; Arming Ukraine is not turning the tide. Is the answer vastly more weapons, as Ukraine says, or a bitter truce?” New York Times, June 13, 2022.

Analysis

The war is hardly front-page news this week in the United States. The January 6 hearings and the National Basketball Association Championship playoffs seem to have a stronger claim on people’s attention.

As we and many others predicted, attention to the war is decreasing rapidly, somwhat like it did after the Afghanistan withdrawal was concluded at tbe end of August 2021.

Yet the war grinds on, and has entered what may be a decisive stage in the battle for the Donbas.

Trofimov and Fidler describe the increasing gains by the Russians, which are slow but steady, seemingly inexorable with the Russia’s massive superiority in artillery and ammunition–10-15 artillery pieces to every one of the Ukrainians, with perhaps a 10 to 1 advantage in ammunition and shells being fired.

Gibbons-Neff and Stevis-Gridneff put their fingers on the heart of the problem the West is likely to face sooner rather than later, in the following terms:

But with the momentum of the war shifting more decisively in Russia’s favor, Ukraine’s allies, their economies threatened and their resolve tested, may soon find themselves forced to confront far more fundamental questions than what sort of weapons to provide, including whether to put pressure on Ukraine to reach a peace agreement with Russia or risk Russian escalation with more aggressive military support.

Erlanger describes in broad outline divisions between the East and Central Europeans and the countries further removed from Russia in the West. He writes,

Ivan Krastev, who heads the Center for Liberal Strategies in Sofia, Bulgaria, calls the divisions in Europe a struggle between the “justice party,” strongest in the east, that wants Russian forces pushed back and punished, and the “peace party,” strongest in the west, that wants the war to end quickly, minimizing the short-term human and economic damage.

To halt the Russian advances, Ukraine is now asking for much greater supplies of weapons and ammunition. Erlanger reports,

In an interview, a top adviser to Mr. Zelensky on Monday sharply ramped up his country’s urgent calls for more and faster delivery of more modern weapons and gear from NATO countries. Suffering heavy losses of soldiers and equipment in Donbas, Ukrainian forces are running out of ammunition for their Soviet-era artillery, and Ukrainian officials contend that Russian artillery in the east is out-firing their own, 10 to 1.

Mykhailo Podolyak, the Zelensky adviser, said Ukraine needs 300 mobile multiple rocket-launch systems, 1,000 howitzers, 500 tanks, 2,000 armored vehicles and 1,000 drones to achieve parity with Russia in the Donbas region where fighting is concentrated — numbers many times beyond anything that has been publicly discussed in the West. The United States has promised four of the mobile rocket launchers and Britain a few more; Washington has sent a little more than 100 howitzers, and other nations a few dozen more.

Hackensberger relates some of the difficulties the Russians have encountered, from a lack of targeting information to the firing of FSB officials and the dismissal of generals, and recounts that General Alexander Dvornikov, who took over leadership of the war effort in Ukraine in April, has reportedly already been replaced.

Divisions among NATO and EU leaders are beginning to appear. Leaders from France and Germany do not seem to have come to terms with the gravity of the Russian threat. Talk of a ceasefire and of the negative effects of the war on their economies suggest that a number of leaders are laboring under the illusion that they can get back to normal or business as usual at some point in the foreseeable future.

There must have been European leaders who had similar thoughts in the fall of 1939.

The Ukrainians and the Eastern Europeans who have lived under Soviet rule know better.

The world has changed forever, just as it did in September 1939.

There is not going to be a ceasefire or peace settlement with Russia that allows life and business to carry on as before, at least not for a very long time–or until Putin’s military revanchism is decisively defeated on the ground and through unrelenting economic sanctions.

The Trenchant Observer

***

See also,

Only force can stop Putin

“Ukraine War, April 5, 2022 (II): Force must be used to stop Putin,” The Trenchant Observer, April 5, 2922 .

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