06.03.2023 Author: Yuriy Zinin

Arms deliveries to Ukraine: “The Achilles’ Heel” of the West

“The West is Playing with Fire in Ukraine,” “The Russian-Ukrainian Conflict and the Achilles’ Heel,” “Why Europe is Splitting over Ukraine Arms Deliveries.” These and similar headlines in the Middle Eastern publications reflect the response of local media and political circles to the West’s recent increase in arms deliveries to Kyiv.

According to local analysts, the West has thrown all the forces of its information conglomerate against Russia and President Vladimir Putin personally. In order to get to the truth, analysts have to break through the thick veil of lies and disinformation created around Ukraine.

Zelensky, notes the Iraqi newspaper, has painted Ukraine as “a bulwark on the way of the Russian offensive.” Presumably, if Kyiv loses, then Europe’s next on Putin’s menu. The head of the Kyiv regime, in his rousing reports about the victories of his army, sang along with the West, hoping for new deliveries of equipment. He particularly pinned his hopes on successes in the battle for Soledar. His disinformation was aimed at Western media, who seized upon it to create a picture of “unwavering” NATO support for Kyiv.

Soledar has fallen, the city has become Russia’s key to Bakhmut and from there to all of Donbass.  Some believe that there has been a shift in the special military operation in Ukraine in favor of Moscow, which has shaken the political designs of the West.  The latter placed a bet on the Ukrainian army like a horse in a race, but lost, as the world saw.

Moscow’s recent successes on the battlefield have caused confusion in the West’s decision-making centers. Clearly, its sanctions have not worked as planned. Most of the non-Western world did not joined these sanctions, and the supply of modern defensive weapons to Kyiv did not change the turn of the fighting.

At the same time, a Middle East analyst says, US expenditures on the war in Ukraine have surpassed their expenses on the adventure in Afghanistan. The present government in Kyiv, which is financed from overseas, has become more corrupt than the Kabul regime that was created, fed and then abandoned by Washington. This is evidenced by the failures of the Zelensky administration, which was recently forced to carry out purges and firings of senior personnel, including in the military.

The West’s ineptitude in the Ukrainian issue has pushed the authorities in these countries to a decision to supply offensive weapons, up to and including tanks and aircraft.

This obsession with pumping weapons into Ukraine, according to a number of Arab authors, creates problems for Western communities. This has revealed problems with their battle formations, power and military technology, a Libyan newspaper believes. This power, while still looking huge and intimidating, has exposed a number of the West’s “Achilles’ heels”.

First, according to a number of experts, the fate of European and US weapons is questionable if they get out of the Ukrainian army’s control. The second is how to protect this equipment so that it does not become the target of Russian missiles and bombs on the territory of Ukraine. The use of Leopard 2 tanks on the battlefield without effective air cover and with Russian air superiority makes them vulnerable to attack.

The destruction of Western weapons in Ukraine means material and financial losses for their manufacturers, as well as undermines confidence among those interested in buying this equipment in world markets

The propaganda hype raised about the superiority of Leopards, Challengers, and other weapons and their ability to miraculously change the balance of power and the course of combat is causing skepticism among military experts in the region.  A number of them are realistic and unbiased in their assessment of the level and combat quality of Western weapons, comparing them with their Russian counterparts.  An Egyptian publication praises the characteristics of the new Russian Armata tank and reminds its readers that Russia has the largest tank fleet on the planet, accounting for 18% of the world’s total.

The newspaper Al Khaleej (UAE), in its commentary on the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Stalingrad, stresses that for Russians this battle is “an epic of the century” and a source of national pride, a reminder of the patriotism of the people and their resistance to Nazism, which is now being restored before our eyes in Ukraine. Here, Russia indirectly opposes the war of the NATO bloc countries.

More and more observers fear that the Russian-Ukrainian conflict is turning into a Russian-NATO geopolitical confrontation, where Ukraine is just an obedient tool of foreign sponsors.                                            

According to the authors, there is a real battle between Russia and the West.  The West is ready to throw in the carnage and sacrifice all the Ukrainian people to achieve its main goal – not to allow Russia to change the international balance of power and end global unipolar hegemony. 

“What awaits Ukraine?” asks an Algerian commentator.  Domestic political swings in the United States between Republicans and Democrats risk affecting the aid for Kyiv.  There have already been examples of this when the Americans betrayed the Iraqi Kurds and then abandoned the Afghan authorities in Kabul to their fate before the Taliban invaded.

Hanging its (former) allies out to dry is one of the behavioral traits of the American establishment, unless its own interests are threatened. In the case of Ukraine, only time will tell.

Yury Zinin, senior researcher at the Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (University) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, exclusively for the online journal “New Eastern Outlook.