Many have argued that a Ukrainian invasion could destabilize the European Union and provoke a new Cold War. But the Kremlin has been open to talks with the West to break the “Gordian knot” in eastern Ukraine. And recently Germany announced its aid to Ukraine. So how will Europe respond? How can Ukraine stop Russia? And will it face a political backlash? Here are some things to consider.
First, Russia’s military force has been augmented by Western armaments. But the country is still a long way from having the lethal weapons that it needs. For this reason, the United States has been its biggest supplier of lethal weapons. Its defense budget this year includes about $2.5 billion in weapons and other assistance for Ukraine’s armed forces. The weapons include counterartillery radars, drones, night-vision goggles, flak jackets, armed patrol boats, and Javelin anti-tank missiles, which could give it a small edge over Russian tanks.
The current situation in Ukraine mirrors intelligence provided by the United States and its allied governments. The Russian army is likely to escalate its air strikes on airports and military targets. The invading Russian forces are outnumbered and outgunned, making it unlikely that the Ukrainian armed forces will be able to withstand such an assault. So, it is imperative to have a clear strategy in place to deter such an invasion.
While Russia has been building up its military, the numbers of its troops are not large enough to occupy and hold a large part of Ukrainian territory. This means that a NATO alliance may not be enough to deter Moscow from forcing Ukraine to accept Russian demands. Some of these include recognising Crimea as Russian territory and renouncing its plans to join NATO. While the situation remains fragile, the world is in an urgent need to act now.
In addition to its military, the United States is preparing to respond to Putin’s threat to NATO’s interests. The Ukrainian government is working to improve its training. Currently, a Florida National Guard unit is deployed in the Ukraine as part of a 53rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team. In the United States, a military intervention in the Ukraine is not inconceivable, but it would require the right political will to do so.
The question of the future of NATO and the Western allies is “Can Ukraine stop Russia?” It is the answer to both of these questions. It will have to be willing to fight the Russian aggression. The question is: what do they think about the NATO alliance, or what does it expect? What does the West think of this? It should be aware that the conflict between NATO and Russia is far from overly happy with each other.
The Russian military, however, has a high degree of confidence in their ability to take Ukraine to war. The Russian army’s presence in the area is an enormous threat to Russia, so Putin is taking a high risk and making the decision to invade it in its entirety is counterproductive. This strategy is unworkable. The only way for President Putin to prevent an invasion is to stop the Ukrainian military from advancing further. Even if this proves impossible, it is worth it to stand up for the interests of the West.
Ultimately, the United States, and its European allies must help Ukraine defend itself. By providing military advice, weapons and intelligence, the NATO Response Force can help Ukraine to fight back against any attack. The Ukrainian government should also be ready to send more military troops to the frontline. But even if they cannot, they should be prepared to face the consequences. They should not be afraid of the threat. There are no better options. And if they do, they can choose to do so by coordinating with the Russians.
In a world where diplomacy has failed to stop the Russian military, it is vital to protect the Ukrainian people. And the West has an obligation to provide this assistance, especially for the sake of the future of its population. Luckily, Western nations have already offered Ukraine financial and military hardware to Ukraine. If they are unable to provide support, the US and Europe should consider all options. If the Kremlin does not stop fighting, the Ukrainian people should not be retaliate.