Arms Deliveries to Ukraine Can Lead to Higher Risk of NATO's Involvement in Conflict, Expert Says
13:15 GMT 04.05.2022 (Updated: 13:16 GMT 04.05.2022)
© AP Photo / Efrem LukatskyUkrainian servicemen unpack Javelin anti-tank missiles, delivered as part of the United States of America's security assistance to Ukraine, at the Borispol airport, outside Kiev, Ukraine, Friday, Feb. 11, 2022
© AP Photo / Efrem Lukatsky
BRUSSELS (Sputnik) - Increasing heavy arms deliveries to Ukraine by the US and its NATO allies can lead to a higher risk of direct involvement in the conflict, believes Xavier Moreau, an arms expert and geopolitical analyst from the French think tank Stratpol.
In late April, the US House of Representatives passed legislation loosening requirements for engaging in lend-lease deals for defence equipment with Ukraine and other Eastern European countries, paving the way for more US arms to flow into the region amid Russia's special military operation. The Senate unanimously passed the bill earlier that month.
"Clearly, when the West arms Ukraine with sophisticated offensive weapons and trains Ukrainian operators in Great Britain, France, Germany or Poland, we are dangerously approaching the direct involvement of NATO troops in the conflict," Moreau said, adding that Ukraine is a poor country that is getting in a lot of debt thanks to a lend-lease arrangement with NATO.
The expert stated that the West had moved from supplying so-called defensive weapons to the ones that are clearly designed for offense, with even the most pacifist country in Europe — Germany — now delivering Gepard air-defence tanks and PzH 2000 self-propelled howitzers.
"The French are delivering their new 155mm Caesar guns and the Americans are shipping 60-ton M777 tracked howitzers. These US weapons are very expensive, and the ammunition is also very expensive. The long-range, 70 km [44 miles] shell firing of the M777 costs 100,000 US$ per shot! In addition, these shots must be guided by drones and the Ukrainian army is losing its drones which are dropping like flies," Moreau continued.
The expert noted that for the weapons system to be truly effective they have to be operated by NATO soldiers, but this would mean spiraling toward a nuclear war. He stressed that Russia has already warned NATO many times of the danger of escalation and co-belligerence, warning that "we are getting into the danger zone."
"There is a big difference between the US and Great Britain who want to destroy the Russian economy and power on the one hand, and the Europeans on the other, who have no interest in such extreme goals. Europe will ultimately have to re-establish links with their Russian neighbours rather than continue to escalate the conflict," Moreau explained.
According to the expert, prolonging the hostilities in Ukraine makes no sense as it dramatically impoverishes the country in the future. The expert thinks that the West has underestimated the weight of the Russian economy in the world and that Europe is suffering far more than Russia from the sanctions they imposed on Moscow.
"It is as if the US and NATO want to fight to the last drop of Ukrainian blood. But the heavy weapons sent by NATO members will not help end the military operation. It will only very partially reach the theater of operations in eastern and southern Ukraine and can only prolong the sufferings," Moreau concluded.