Victorious in Kyiv, Ukraine Moves to Phase 2 of the War
The Battle of Kyiv is over, and contrary to the assertions of nay-sayers and anti-anti-Putinists, Ukraine has won. However, this battle is not the entire war, which now moves to Phase 2 (WaPo).
Now, as the war pivots to the east, the numbers and types of weapons supplied by the United States and Europe will again prove critical for Ukraine. Its forces need to quickly rebuild, to replace equipment lost in six weeks of fighting and to supply the reserve units that the Ukrainian military is now trying to put into the field. They also need to prepare for a new sort of war, with the ultimate aim of not only defending cities but also turning out Russian forces.
So now Ukraine feels they are in a position to finally drive out Putin’s forces after eight years. On the other hand, Putin will redeploy much of his beaten force into Ukraine’s east, where they still have two mini-Putinist allied regimes and a far better military position than they had in Kyiv. The fact that Russia has not pulled back from Kharkiv is a clear sign that Putin still wants more of Ukraine than he has now – a lot more.
NATO and the democratic world now have to decide if they’re ready to go all in for Ukraine. As it happens, Britain, the U.S., and the Czech Republic are answering the question by leading the way in offering support.
Western governments have been reluctant to send such heavy weaponry. But the Czech Republic has become the first NATO country to contribute tanks, a senior Czech official confirmed to The Washington Post on Saturday, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss a transfer that hasn’t been announced officially.
British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said Friday that his country will be providing Ukraine with heavily armored troop carriers called Mastiffs — and that British troops will help train the Ukrainians in their operation.
The latest package from the United States, Sullivan said, includes laser-guided rocket systems, Puma drones, and armored high-mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicles.
The British Prime Minister delivered the news to Ukraine himself (Telegraph).
Boris Johnson made a secret visit to Ukraine on Saturday to offer Volodymyr Zelensky a new aid package including armoured vehicles and anti-ship missiles and praise the “invincible heroism and courage of the Ukrainian people”.
The Prime Minister used the visit to promise Ukraine 120 new armoured vehicles and new anti-ship missile systems, which could be used to fight off Russian forces in Mariupol, on Ukraine’s south coast.
Mr Zelensky hailed Mr Johnson as “one of the most principled opponents of the Russian invasion”.
Of course, the U.S. can to more than just directly aid Ukraine (back to the WaPo).
For tanks and air defense, the focus remains on older systems.
Central Europe holds warehouses of old Soviet and post-Soviet tanks — the T-72s and even earlier T-64s — and Alberque said Ukrainian forces know how to drive and repair those tanks.
In some cases, the White House has agreed to send new equipment to Central European countries if those countries give their old equipment to Ukraine. So a steady stream of their defense officials have passed through Washington in recent weeks, seeking assurances that the United States would backfill them with more modern equipment in short order.
President Biden said in a statement Friday that the United States would reposition a Patriot missile system to Slovakia, after that country sent an S-300 air defense system to Ukraine.
For what it’s worth, that’s a good start, but only a start.
This has only been a few weeks for us, but it’s been eight years for Ukraine. Moreover, a complete expulsion of Russian forces will send a message to every tyrant and irredentist around the world: we can be patient, too, and none of your ill-gotten gains are safe. We let them forget that. The time to remind them is now.