On Thursday, NATO held an emergency meeting about Russia’s increasingly horrific and atrocity-filled invasion of Ukraine. This meeting was however substantive, which is a departure from other NATO meetings.
The attendees included not only NATO members, but also international observers: Sweden, Finland and Georgia as well as the European Union, Sweden. Putin might have been afraid to be surrounded before. He should look at his map right now. This is just a reminder of the unresolved border dispute between Russia and Japan. Russia has military exercises on disputed islands. As if to validate the stereotype of the Germans being either “at your throat or at your heel,” the German Foreign Minister showed he was definitely at Putin’s heel by leaving early.
Weaponry was the main topic. Weaponry was the main issue. The weaponry that has been supplied to Ukraine so far has been defensive in nature. However, it has not been able to tilt the balance of power. At best, Ukraine could achieve a Russian withdrawal to February 23 lines in most of the country while going to a 1916-style stalemate in Donbas that would give up an extensive amount of territory and reward Putin’s land grab strategy. It was reminiscent of the Star Trek episode, “A Private Little War.”
To underscore the theme, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister made it very clear what he wanted.
“My agenda is very simple, it has only three items on it. Weapons, weapons & weapons.”
Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister, pleaded today to NATO at its summit that allies continue providing weapons in advance of the Battle of Donbas. pic.twitter.com/jj2EAAkJkl
— Visegrád 24 (@visegrad24) April 7, 2022
“I think the deal that Ukraine is offering is fair. You provide weapons and we give up our lives. And the conflict is in Ukraine. This is it.” – Ukraine Foreign Minister @DmytroKulebahttps://t.co/tQAvSDw4Y6
— Ben Domenech (@bdomenech) April 8, 2022
Even before the meeting was over, NATO members, especially those of the Warsaw Pact, began to take action, leaving behind the German-dominated NATO hierarchy.
The video shows the T-72 and BMP tanks that Czechia shipped to Ukraine.
Czechia was the first to supply tanks for Ukraine.
SAM and tanks will both be critical in the Battle for the Donbas, as the terrain can change rapidly. pic.twitter.com/fLYLEhNeyD
— Visegrád 24 (@visegrad24) April 6, 2022
Ex-Soviet Heavy Armored was seen being lifted out of Storage onto trains in Czechia today. This may have been equipment that Germany had approved to be sent to Ukraine, specifically BMP-1s. These T-72 MBTs most likely are also being sent. pic.twitter.com/cFD9LjTxVH
— OSINTdefender (@sentdefender) April 4, 2022
Australia has already pledged to send at least 20 Bushmasters from their version of MRAP to Ukraine.
— MilitaryLand.net (@Militarylandnet) April 5, 2022
A logjam was broken at the conference.
Today, Poland declared that it would transfer large numbers of its modernized T72 tanks to Ukraine. Even more important, Slovakia will transfer its S-300 surface-to-air Missile System to Ukraine.
BREAKING: Poland will send T-72 tanks to Ukraine – NATO Dep SecGen Geoana pic.twitter.com/S40T40Wqli
— AlexandruC4 (@AlexandruC4) April 8, 2022
One battery, the S-300 Transfer, is made up of four launchers and has abilities roughly equivalent to that of the US Patriot system. It represents 100% of Slovakia’s air defense capability.
Slovakia’s prime minister took the unprecedented step of personally announcing the move.
That I can confirm. #SlovakiaThey have provided #UkraineAn air-defence unit S-300. #UkrainianThe nation #bravelyIt is our duty to defend its sovereign nation and ourselves. It is our responsibility to support, not stay still and ignore the deaths of people under threat #Russia’s agression.
— Eduard Heger (@eduardheger) April 8, 2022
Prime Minister Heger’s announcement took guts because the idea of Slovakia transferring the S-300 to Ukraine unsettles the Russians enough that they have threatened to attack any attempt to move the system.
Russia says will attack Slovakia’s S-300 missile supplies to Ukraine https://t.co/iQVM3NzjhL
— Georgi Gotev & EURACTIV.bg (@GeorgiGotev) March 18, 2022
S-300 could be the next big thing. 1) The Russian Air Force is notoriously poor at attacking surface-to-air ballistic missile sites. 2) Because of its short range, targets can be easily engaged as soon as the aircraft takes off from Russian and Belarusian bases.
The meeting seemed to augur a shift in NATO’s attitude from February. There was then a sense of resignation and that sending money to Ukraine was an act of wasting good money. NATO now seems to think that Ukraine will win the war, and Vladimir Putin can’t be trusted to leave looking anything less than a loser. The Prime Minister of Estonia, Kaja Kallas, penned an op-ed for the New York Times last week titled: I’m the Prime Minister of Estonia. Putin Can’t Think He’s Won This War.
These horrors must be stopped. The best observers are hopeful that there will soon be a peace agreement. However, peace will not be possible tomorrow. We must face up to the fact that the Kremlin’s idea of European and global security is completely at odds with that of the free world. Vladimir Putin will kill and repress in masse just for this.
NATO should keep one thing in mind: Putin can’t win this war. Or he will think that he is winning. To defend NATO territory, we must show willpower and allocate resources. To check Russia’s aggression, we need to put in place a long-term policy of smart containment.
She seems to have it right. Putin’s fear of NATO is not driven by the alliance’s threat to Russia; it is driven by the way the alliance constrains Putin’s imperial ambitions. Putin will take any peace negotiation wink and turn it into an advantage. And, by the way, don’t delude yourself that any peace in Ukraine is final; it isn’t because Putin and, I believe, Russia does not view Ukraine as a legitimate country, and they will be back for another try at dismembering it (read Kremlin Newspaper and a Putin Confidant Endorse Genocide as Russia’s Final Solution to the Ukraine Problem).
It is essential that Russia understands that Ukraine is equal in terms of weaponry, and that the Ukrainian people are willing to defend their homeland.