There seemed to be a new policy direction floated by the Biden Defense Department at Friday’s Pentagon press briefing. Pentagon spokesman John Kirby was asked, “John, do you think the Russians are going to lose this war in Ukraine?” (This is the video cued to the transcription.
MR. KIRBY (English): We want Ukraine to win the war. We also want Ukraine to not be forced to defend its sovereignity, which it has done for eight years. But we don’t remember that. It seems President Zelensky is very clear about what the outcome of this referendum will be. The whole of Ukraine is to be fully recognized and respected as an independent sovereign state-state. We also want this for Zelensky. So we will help, we want the country to win. And that’s why we are committing so much energy and security assistance to that country. And we’ll continue to do that.
Q: Are you sure that the Ukrainians will win? Do you really want the Russians to lose?
MR. KIRBY: We would — we want to see Mr. Putin and the Russian army lose this invasion, lose this fight inside Ukraine. The Ukrainian territories and sovereignty are under attack, as well as the Ukrainian cities and people. That is why we are determined to bring an end to this. Und we would like to see Ukraine reunified.
Q: Will the U.S. support Ukrainian forces if they go on the offensive in Crimea and the Russian-backed separatists’ regions in eastern Ukraine?
MR. KIRBY: I’m not going to get into future operations here. What I would tell you is we’re going to continue to support Ukraine in their efforts to defend their sovereignty and their people as much as we can, as fast as we can, Lucas. And I’m not going to get into hypothetical operations that they haven’t conducted yet.
This has a number of implications. One is what the future holds for Ukraine, as an NATO member or just a member. This was the topic of my Saturday post: Ukraine Joins NATO. Russia may not like it, but more will follow. NATO is now integrating Ukraine. The US military has trained Ukraine’s army in a significant way since Putin invaded Donbas and annexed Crimea. Although the initial supply of equipment for replacement was pulled from Warsaw Pact stock, Ukraine now has weapons and vehicles meeting NATO standards. First were MRAP vehicles such as the Australian Bushmaster (British Mastiff) and the British Mastiff. Germany now has the option of providing Ukraine with 50 Leopard 1A5 main combat tanks and 60 Marder infantry fighting cars.
#GermanyRheinmetall, Germany’s biggest defense concern is open to supply #Ukraine with up to 50 Leopard 1 tanks and up to 60 Marder-type armored personnel carriers, the Handelsblatt newspaper reported, citing the director general of the concern.https://t.co/10tLX9zm8C
— NEXTA (@nexta_tv) April 11, 2022
Although these vehicles are obsolete, they can be compared to Russian equipment and could move Ukraine toward modern German tanks.
You will need to train in a safe location for the new equipment. For example, we know that the Switchblade “suicide drone” operators just finished training in Biloxi, MS (I’m assuming on Keesler AFB).
U.S. Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin spoke to Ukrainian soldiers in Biloxi (Mississippi) before they returned to the United States to defend their country. pic.twitter.com/awUaoySgeH
— Lucas Tomlinson (@LucasFoxNews) April 10, 2022
Joe Biden told the world we provided some training for Ukrainian soldiers in Poland (Joe Biden Spilling The Beans on Polish Troops Training and Calling For Regime Change In Russia)
Sunday, Lithuania’s Defense Chief Valdemaras Rupšys, standing beside the US Army Chief of Staff General James McConville, announced that Lithuania would provide technical and combat training for the Ukrainian armed forces very soon.
Lithuania’s🇱🇹 Chief of Defense: military training for Ukrainian troops will be organized in Lithuania shortly
More here: https://t.co/rqNUck1VEG
— Vytas Leškevičius (@Leskevicius) April 11, 2022
We’ve passed a point of no return. NATO becomes more involved in the conflict in Ukraine every day. Ukraine is now a NATO-member.
Kirby also made a second, more important point.
Most people tend to think of a Ukraine “win” as restoring the status quo ante22 February. However, it seems clear from Kirby’s statement that the fate of the two Donbas “republics” is very much on the table. It is hard to imagine a situation where Russia is forced to withdraw from Ukraine and the Ukrainian Army doesn’t have its fangs out and overruns Donetsk and Luhansk in the process. Kirby’s statement seems to say that the US regards Donetsk and Luhansk as Ukrainian territory because it is, and Ukraine gets to decide how to handle the problem.
We have often observed that Joe Biden does not appear to be able to lead, and the gap is being filled with people who are interested in the final outcome. The Prime Minister of Estonia, Kaja Kallas, penned an op-ed for the New York Times titled: I’m the Prime Minister of Estonia. Putin Can’t Think He’s Won This War.
The most hopeful observers believe that a peaceful solution will bring an end to the horrors of war. Peace is unlikely to be achieved 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 would be willing to murder and repress large numbers just for it.
NATO should keep one thing in mind: Putin can’t win this war. Or he will think that he is winning. It is necessary to show the will to protect NATO territories and to commit resources. To check Russia’s aggression, we need to put in place a long-term policy of smart containment.
This is a great idea. I believe she got it exactly right. I’m sure that important people have heard of her. Putin must not be defeated in his attempts to subjugate Ukraine.
This war may very well go down in history as a case of geopolitical foolishness. Putin went to war just to intimidate his neighbours and to toss his weight around. Now, going on two months into the adventure, his army has been humiliated, he’s made Ukraine a de facto NATO member, Sweden and Finland will be NATO members by autumn, Ukraine’s military will have frontline equipment and arms, and Russia’s political and economic ties to the west have been severely damaged. Russia finds itself isolated, and must choose between curbing its ambitions and becoming a Chinese client country and curbing their ambitions. Putin, who considers himself to be the embodiment of Russia, is only responsible for everything.