Vladimir Putin claimed that the reason for Ukraine’s ineptly-executed invasion was to stop Ukraine joining NATO. Against all evidence and commonsense, he claimed that Ukraine’s membership in a defensive alliance like NATO posed a direct threat to Russia. Putin and his supporters would want us to believe NATO was lying so NATO could invade Russia. Instead, in something of a geopolitical “own goal,” the invasion of Ukraine has created a de factoNATO expansion to Ukraine de jureIt is just months away that NATO will expand to Finland and Sweden.
The NATO foreign ministers met Thursday to discuss the crisis in Ukraine, and specifically to determine how Ukraine can be kept in the war. This is a quote from my blog titled Game-Changing Weapons Start to Flow To Ukraine Following NATO Emergency Meeting.
The attendees included not only NATO members, but also international observers: Sweden, Finland and Georgia as well as the European Union, Sweden. If Putin was afraid of being surrounded before, he should take a quick look at his map now (just a reminder that Japan and Russia still have an unresolved border dispute, see Russia conducts military exercises in disputed islands).
A very insightful statement came from Ukraine Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, “I think the deal that Ukraine is offering is fair. We give you weapons, we die for Ukraine. The war in Ukraine is over.”
“I think the deal that Ukraine is offering is fair. You give us weapons; we sacrifice our lives, and the war is contained in Ukraine. This is it.” – Ukraine Foreign Minister @DmytroKulebahttps://t.co/tQAvSDw4Y6
— Ben Domenech (@bdomenech) April 8, 2022
All of the actions taken by NATO countries indicate they have agreed to Mr. Kuleba’s deal.
It is more than just a proxy war. What’s happening in Ukraine has become a low-key method of bringing Ukraine to NATO.
Although Ukraine received armored vehicles from Czechia (T-62s, BMPs, and S-300 surface-to-air Missile System from Slovakia), I believe the biggest news was Ukraine’s purchase of 16 self-propelled 155mm Howitzers ZUZANA 2.
What is so special about the 16-piece sale of artillery? It’s three silly millimeters. Russian artillery employs a projectile of 152mm. NATO’s standard for projectile size is 155mm. Georgia, by the way is considering purchasing this artillery. They also have 152mm artillery like Ukraine and are therefore NATO-compliant.
RPG-7, once a ubiquitous weapon in the anti-tank arsenal of Western countries has almost been exterminated. NATO standards have been achieved by the proliferation of modern, portable anti-tank weaponry from US Javelin to British NLAW and German Panzerfaust 3 The anti-aircraft aspect of the ledger is where the US Stinger, British Starstreak and the Russian Igla are leading the charge.
Also lacking notice is Australia’s providing combat-proven Bushmaster vehicles to aid mobility. Bushmasters are similar to US MRAP and offer crew protection as well as survivability. Britain also pledged to send 120 Mastiffs (or their MRAP-equivalent) to Ukraine. Again more standardization.
In addition, intelligence is shared extensively by the USA with Ukraine.
The director of the Defense Intelligence Agency described the sharing of information and intelligence between the United States and the Ukrainians as “revolutionary in terms of what we can do” at a Thursday congressional hearing.
Army Lt. General Scott Berrier informed the House Armed Services subcommittee for intelligence that he was able to provide more details in a closed session about how this works.
Army Gen. Paul Nakasone, who heads both Cyber Command and the National Security Agency, said that “in my 35 years” he has never seen a better sharing of accurate, timely and actionable intelligence than what has transpired with Ukraine.
Sharing intelligence at a location is a common method of generating standardised analysis and collection procedures. These processes will be the basis of the way that the Ukrainian Army functions. Again, NATO standardization. It is obvious that intelligence sharing and joint operational planning are two sides of the same coin. For NATO to efficiently provide what Ukraine needs, it needs to be involved in the staff work of Ukraine’s combat planning.
Alongside the arms and slow-motion process of bringing Ukraine’s Army into NATO standards of weaponry and procedures, there is active collaboration with Ukraine’s armed forces. As I said, intelligence sharing is a key component of the cooperation. Joe Biden revealed that the US Army was training Ukrainian soldiers for unspecified tasks. (see Joe Biden Spilling The Beans on Training Troops In Poland and Calling For Regime Change to Russia is Reckless, Dangerous). On Wednesday, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby revealed that Ukrainian soldiers are in the United States receiving “professional military training,” including how to use the Switchblade “suicide drone” system. Slovak howitzers require crew training. A crew can become proficient in about one week if they’ve served with an artillery regiment. We don’t know where the training will take place, but I would bet there is a greater chance of Ukrainian artillerymen training in Slovakia than Slovak soldiers going to Ukraine.
Friday’s Wall Street Journal report said that Czechia, Slovakia and other countries are in discussions about repairing or rebuilding the damaged equipment from Ukraine.
Other than tanks, Central European countries, such as the Czech Republic are considering the risk of Ukraine bringing in war-damaged machinery into their country for repair. According to a Slovak senior official, Slovakia does not have tanks and has already discussed this issue.Those deliberations are part of a realization that Russia’s war with Ukraine could drag on for months if not longer—and that, in a war of attrition, Russia’s overwhelming advantage in equipment could tilt the scales in Moscow’s favor.
“If the war is going to get longer and longer, the war equipment that is being damaged needs to get serviced,” said a Czech defense ministry official. “Ukrainian repair houses are 100% busy, and they are asking other nearby allies to help them with repairs.”
NATO will eventually provide Ukraine real tanks and combat vehicles in order to replace Russian scrapheaps that they and their Army use. Ukraine will now be equipped as any NATO member and can train like all other NATO members.
The integration of Ukraine into NATO is happening without an official declaration. NATO provides operational intelligence, planning and training to the Ukrainian military. They arm, train, supply, and equip them with weapons and ammunition. We can anticipate major repairs to Ukrainian equipment being performed in the near future. Inevitably, new Ukrainian formations will be organized and trained in areas that Russian missiles can’t hit. It is also evident that NATO has been reorganized and trained in areas where it was not possible to hit. The Department of Defense Dithers Over Armored Vehicles, Ukraine; Time for Action Slips By.
This action comes with potential risks. Russia could conceivably launch an attack on some site in a NATO country engaged in supporting Ukraine, though given what we’ve seen about the Russian military, that is a high-risk-low-payoff move. However, Russia’s openness to the transfer of S-300 Surface-to-Air Missile System S-300 from Slovakia to Ukraine is a positive sign.hreatened to attackThis would lead one to conclude that NATO thinks Putin is much like the wizard behind the curtain and that NATO’s risk of not expanding NATO exponentially outweighs the potential risks of expanding the alliance formally or formally.