By David Sole
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky flew to the United States Wednesday, December 21, 2022 for a quick meeting and press conference with President Joe Biden and an appearance before the U.S. Congress. He did not need to make the trip to convince top U.S. officials to continue funneling tens of billions in weapons and military supplies to Ukrainian forces. U.S. and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) leaders are fully committed to having Ukrainians fight to the bitter end against the Russian Federation in this proxy war.
No, Zelensky’s arrival is a carefully staged public relations stunt designed to convince the U.S. people to keep supporting this endless financial commitment. It is reported that President Biden will announce another $2 billion in military aid, which will include advanced Patriot anti-aircraft missile batteries.
However much more is pledged to Ukraine, it will not be enough. Recent reports by the New York Times about the relationship of forces in the battle for Bakhmut give the Russians a six-to-one advantage over the Ukrainians in artillery. Other media have reported for many weeks that Ukraine’s needs for 155 mm artillery shells cannot be met by its western backers.
Ukraine has appealed for tanks, artillery, armored personnel carriers and other heavy weaponry which are not available. The number of Ukrainian soldiers being trained in the west cannot keep up with the losses suffered by the Ukrainians. The battle for Bakhmut that has been going on for many months has been described as a “meat grinder.” The easy advances made in the Kharkiv region and Kherson province ended when the Russians finished withdrawing from weak forward positions and established strong new defensive lines.
Much attention has been given to the Patriot missile batteries to be delivered to Ukraine. Some reports state that two of these advanced and complex systems will be provided. But training of Ukrainians inside Germany for the Patriot system will take several months to complete. Are the U.S. and NATO planning to set up and operate the Patriots in the meantime? That would be a serious escalation from providing weapons to putting troops into forward combat positions.
And even these Patriot missiles will have minimal impact when Russia is launching many hundred long range missiles and drones at Ukrainian targets each week. Ukraine’s national electric power grid has been systematically degraded and is on the verge of collapse according to a top Ukraine general.
All Ukrainian talk of driving the Russian Federation from the four provinces they recently annexed as well as Crimea seized by Russia after the 2014 CIA sponsored right wing coup in Ukraine, is pure fantasy.
It is unlikely that the Ukrainians can sustain attacks on the Russian defensive lines or can hold up Russian offensive operations. Unless the U.S. and NATO reverse their position and send in large numbers of troops and combat aircraft, the only other alternative is a negotiated settlement. So far the western powers and their Ukrainian puppets are unwilling to discuss this embarrassing possibility.