$65 Billion in Western ‘Aid for Ukraine’ Is Neither Aid Nor Is it for Ukraine
Friday, May 20, 2022
Drago Bosnic, independent geopolitical and military analyst
In recent weeks, much has been said about the political West’s (primarily US) “aid” to the embattled Kiev regime. The US Congress has so far approved or is in the process of approving at least $54 billion to Ukraine. In addition, various reports put the amount of EU “aid” at up to €10 billion thus far, although the actual number is most likely orders of magnitude greater. When put together, this pushes the publicly acknowledged figure to a staggering $65 billion, which is equivalent to Russia’s annual military spending in nominal USD exchange rates.
The number seems rather impressive and may give an outlook that Ukraine will be able to defeat Russian forces. However, the situation on the ground says otherwise. With the political West’s postindustrial economy, their ability to mass-produce affordable and easily replaceable military hardware has increasingly been called into question. Thus, most of the “aid” from the US/EU is essentially a half measure. Throwing money at a problem is highly unlikely to resolve it, as actual situations require genuine, not monetary action.
The amount of hardware Ukraine lost so far is difficult to determine, as both sides provide diametrically opposing data, while independent confirmation from the ground is virtually impossible due to ongoing military operations. However, war footage taken by civilians, alternative media embedded with frontline troops, and soldiers themselves, clearly shows that Ukraine’s losses in manpower and equipment have been massive.
To replace lost hardware, the Kiev regime will require enormous resources. However, this will be quite challenging, as the country’s Military-Industrial Complex has been virtually annihilated by Russia’s long-range strikes. Thus, the regime will need to acquire additional military hardware elsewhere. The political West is the go-to address for this purpose, as Ukraine has been getting NATO weapons for years. Still, this hardware has had a limited impact on the battlefield. To change that, NATO powers decided to ramp up the so-called “lethal aid”.
However, in reality, the prospect of Ukraine getting the promised “aid” is rather grim. An obvious question arises, what will happen to nearly $65 billion? The first go-to address for such a question should be the US Congress. With the lawmaking body trying to fast track the deal, some US congressmen have voiced concerns that corrupt officials would be able to steal the “aid”, as was the case for decades during numerous US invasions across the globe. However, corruption and embezzlement, which geopolitical expert Paul Antonopoulos recently covered in a superb analysis, is the lesser problem in this situation.
Mainstream media have been portraying the political West as if it will be sending actual, physical money to the Kiev regime. However, nothing could be further from the truth. The funds will essentially stay in the “donor” countries. The largest share of those funds will officially be allocated to arming, or rather, rearming the Kiev regime forces. But who exactly, or more precisely, which companies will be producing weapons for the Ukrainian military? It’s safe to assume we all know the answer – the US Military-Industrial Complex, the largest and most powerful arms manufacturing cartel on the planet. Household names such as Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Boeing, BAE Systems, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman, to name a few, will be getting the vast majority of those funds.
For instance, the “Phoenix Ghost” drones, manufactured by the California-based Aevex Aerospace and “Switchblade” drones, manufactured by AeroVironment, both designed to strike tanks and other armored vehicles, as well as infantry units. M113 armored vehicle is also being sent and while old, largely obsolete and not in production since 2007, it’s quite numerous, and getting rid of it will make way for the acquisition of its immediate successor, the AMPV (Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle), a turretless variant of the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, produced by the BAE Systems.
Another BAE Systems product is the M777 howitzer, a towed 155 mm artillery piece designed for direct fire support. Ukrainian troops are already using them, while recent videos released by the Russian military show some have already been destroyed in battle. Interestingly, the howitzers delivered to Ukraine lack digital fire-control systems.
The much-touted “Stinger” MANPADS (produced by Raytheon) and “Javelin” ATGMs (co-produced by Lockheed Martin and Raytheon) have been sent in the thousands. However, their effectiveness has been questionable at best, despite Western media trying to portray them as supposed “game-changers”. Russian tanks have been filmed surviving up to 7 “Javelin” hits, even continuing to fight, much to the frustration of Ukrainian forces, which have recently been ordered to stop publicly complaining about the lackluster performance of Western weapons.
Raytheon’s AN/MPQ-64 “Sentinel”, an X-band range-gated, pulse-Doppler radar used to alert and cue short-range air defense systems has also been sent. In addition, 40 million rounds of small arms ammunition, 5,000 assault and battle rifles, 1,000 pistols, 400 machine guns and 400 shotguns have been sent to Ukraine, along with more than 1 million grenades, mortars and 200,000 artillery rounds. These deliveries have been completed by early May. The actual number is most certainly much higher as of this writing.
The weapons in question are not changing the strategic balance between Russia and the Kiev regime, but are prolonging the fight, resulting in even higher military and civilian casualties. Also, logistics-wise, having so many different types of weapons creates a lot of problems for the Ukrainian military, which is barely holding together as it is. There are also issues of training and doctrinal incompatibility.
M777 howitzers are immobile when deployed and are designed with air dominance in mind. US troops are supposed to use them from a safe distance, serving as fire support by striking very specific targets during overseas operations, which is completely opposite to what is going on in Ukraine, where the other side (Russia) enjoys air dominance and uses massed artillery to punch holes in Ukrainian lines, followed by massive and well-coordinated armor assaults. Thus, US weapons not only fail in providing an effective counter to Russian troops, but are even getting Ukrainian forces killed, as they are still not accustomed to using them.
And last, but not least, the “aid” provided (and soon to be provided) by NATO countries are essentially long-term loans which will have to be repaid in the following decades. The WWII-era Lend-Lease program for the USSR, estimated at $160 billion in present-day USD, was repaid in full only in 2006. Thus, we can assume Ukraine will be paying off the current $65 billion “aid” for the rest of this century. That is, provided there will be a viable Ukrainian state to do so after the conflict ends.
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