KYIV, Ukraine. January 22nd 2022. PICTURED: 80 tons of “Lethal weaponry” arrives in Ukraine from the United States.
WASHINGTON D.C. January 24th, 2021. Comments last week from the chief of the German navy that Putin probably deserves respect accumulated enough pressure to see him turn in his resignation. The comments outraged Ukrainian officials who have been feeling the support of a united Europe amid rumors of an imminent Russian invasion.
“Is Russia really interested in having a tiny strip of Ukrainian soil, to integrate into their country?” said Vice-admiral Kay-Achim Schönbachan at an event in India on Friday, adding that “on eye level, he wants respect. And my God, giving him respect is low cost, even no cost. It is easy to give him the respect he demands, and probably deserves”.
Perhaps what the Ukrainian officials took the most issue with was Schönbachan’s approximation that Crimea was “gone” and would “never come back”.
Ukraine’s Ambassador to Germany Andriy Melynk said that the naval chief’s point of view “massively called into question Germany’s trustworthiness and reliability, not just from a Ukrainian point of view,” adding after Schönbachan resigned that “while Ukraine welcomes the timely resignation of Navy Chief Kay-Achim Schönbach, this step is not enough to restore full confidence in German politics”.
Dave DeCamp at Antiwar reports that “Germany has already been under pressure for not joining its NATO allies in sending weapons to Ukraine, [but] the new coalition government in Berlin has agreed not to send weapons to potential conflict zones and is sticking by the policy”.
Guns and rumors
Former-President Donald Trump, and other executives before him, commonly singled out Germany as one of NATO’s least-reliable spenders, and now under a further-left coalition with the Green Party, that’s unlikely to change. Nevertheless NATO bosses are shipping hundreds of tons of military hardware to Ukraine to prepare against a potential invasion.
WaL reported in December that no evidence of a potential invasion has been presented either by intelligence sources speaking to the media, or the administration. Russia has denied the allegations, saying they have every right to conduct military readiness drills within their own borders. However this rumor has stuck around, and has repeatedly drawn out hawkish statements from Western leaders about “Ukrainian territorial integrity,” or “a severe and a united response,” and “crippling economic sanctions”.
Last year, the U.S. sent $650 million worth of military equipment, much of it lethal weaponry and not the “defensive equipment,” Biden claimed it was. In the first month of 2022, another $200 million worth of weapons arrived in Kyiv, while the 2022 American military budget includes $300 million for total Ukrainian assistance.
“The donation, which includes close to 200,000 pounds of lethal security assistance, including ammunition for the front line defenders of Ukraine, demonstrates the United States’ strong commitment to Ukraine’s sovereign right to self-defense,” proudly announced the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine.
But it’s not only the U.S. that’s supplying the gunpowder, Canada is also contributing heavily to the cause, while Dutch officials said they would “respond positively” if asked for support, which essentially means they already are supporting the Kyiv government.
Sticks and stones
Former-Naval Chief Schönbachan’s comments represented a truth which Western leaders don’t appreciate hearing. Crimea will never willingly return to Ukraine, because the Crimean people don’t want to, having voted with overwhelming positivity for the Russian annexation. Furthermore, Sebastopol, the capital of the Crimean Oblast, is the Russian Federation’s only warm-water naval base, and key to naval defense strategies in the Black Sea.
Further still, as much as Ukrainian President Zelensky, would like to take back Crimea with his new found NATO weaponry, Russia will never allow it, and NATO will never allow a conflict over the already-seized Crimea to escalate into a greater, and possibly nuclear confrontation.
This truth is enough to trigger the resignation of a nation’s highest naval officer, but calling President Putin a “thug” and a “killer” who has “no soul” triggers nothing for President Biden.
This one-way street of barbs, insults, and ultimata portrays inaccurately the sensitive and legitimate national security concerns Russia has about NATO adventurism in Ukraine, and fuels anti-Russian sentiment in Western media. Proof of this were the talks in Geneva and Brussels recently, Russian concerns were heard and not out-rightly rejected.
General Cold War-Era strategic policy would state that if the enemy has negated your response to a nuclear attack, that is the same level of threat as a nuclear attack in itself, as it distorts the status quo of Mutually-Assured Destruction.
As it happens many former Warsaw pact countries contain NATO Standard Missile 3 systems, which are designed to shoot down ballistic missiles. Placed in Ukraine, these would seriously inhibit Russia’s ability to retaliate if attacked. A nuclear missile placed in and fired from Ukraine, as Putin once pointed out, shortens the Kremlin’s response time from the existing 15 minutes to perhaps as little as 7, which would be intolerable for any nation.