By David Sole
As the Ukraine Spring Offensive becomes a Fall Offensive without gaining ground, Ukraine’s western masters have increased the danger of a much wider war by announcing new war games. MSN.com described the maneuvers as a “Provocative ‘war games’ drill along [the] Russian border.” Called “’Steadfast Defender’ the exercises will involve 41,000 troops, over 50 ships and hundreds of air combat missions” and are set for early in 2024. They will simulate a Russian invasion and will include Germany, Poland and the Baltic countries.
Carrying out such huge military actions in close proximity to the actual Ukraine-Russian Federation war theater poses many dangers of accidental escalation into full scale combat. NATO plans for 500 to 700 air combat simulations. All of these maneuvers will be closely followed by the Russian military, who will need to be prepared to respond if these “games” become real attacks.
At the same time USNews.com reported that “Armenia launches joint military drills with [the] United States that anger Moscow.” The September 11 article stated that “’Eagle Partner’ war games will run through Sept. 20 and involve” Armenian and U.S. troops. The Russian Foreign Ministry called in the Armenian ambassador to protest the action calling it “unfriendly.” Russia has long been Armenia’s chief economic partner and has Russian military bases on its soil.
The number and quality of weapons in the military theater is also increasing. Poland announced that it will be acquiring 486 HIMARS launchers (High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems) from the United States. Produced by the Lockheed Martin company, the HIMARS deliveries are not expected until 2025 with technology transfers to allow Poland to manufacture the rockets. The deal is estimated to be around $10 billion and includes “45 M57 Army Tactical Missile Systems [ATACMS – long range missiles] as well as hundreds of guided multiple launch rocket and warhead variants.” Poland borders western Ukraine and is the primary transit point for weapon transfers for the hundred billion dollars-plus worth of military hardware flowing to prop up Ukraine in the proxy war.
Apparently about to reverse a previous refusal to supply Ukraine with long range U.S. missiles, the Wall Street Journal reported that “Ukraine [is] closer to acquiring ATACMS…this Fall.”
Officials say they are taking a fresh look” and may soon authorize the transfer with Pentagon and State Department hawks urging the White House to okay the deal. ATACMS are surface to surface guided missiles and could be used by Ukraine to hit targets inside Russia with a range of 186 miles.
Up to now the U.S. was hesitant to do this, fearing it would escalate tensions with Russia. While some assume Ukraine would not use the ATACMS to hit targets outside the zone of conflict, Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated that it was up to Ukraine to decide how and where it used these advanced missiles.
The U.S. announced on September 6 that it is also shipping depleted uranium munitions to Ukraine. These d-U 122mm tank shells, upon impact, spread radioactive material that is also poisonous as a “heavy metal.”
Not to be outdone, the British government announced that it is sending fighter jets to the Black Sea to “monitor Russian activity in the Black Sea” under the pretext of protecting civilian grain shipments in and out of Ukrainian ports. “RAF aircraft are conducting flights over the area to deter Russia from carrying out illegal strikes”, the UK stated.
The grain shipping agreement from last July was canceled by the Russian side when the Western powers obstructed shipments of Russian produce and fertilizer. With RAF fighter jets patrolling the skies off the coast of Ukraine and Russian military bases in Crimea, there is constant danger of an incident that could spiral out of control between Britain and Russia.
All of these escalations around the war zone don’t change the facts on the ground, that Ukraine cannot gain any traction in its “offensive”, now in its fourth month. Ukraine’s loss of many tens of thousands of troops and massive amounts of heavy weaponry doesn’t bode well for its proxy war. The recent firing of the Defense Minister may be only the beginning of inevitable in-fighting as Ukraine and the West try to find a scapegoat to pin the blame for their failures on.