One of the false reasons Russian president Vladimir Putin laid out for his poorly executed invasion into Ukraine was to block Ukraine from joining NATO. In defiance of all evidence and common sense, the Russian leader claimed that Ukraine’s participation in an alliance of defense such as NATO could pose an immediate threat to Russia. Putin and his supporters claim that NATO is waiting to get Ukraine into NATO in order that NATO could be able to invade Russia or something else. Instead, as the political “own goal,” the attack on Ukraine has resulted in the possibility of a real growth of NATO to include Ukraine, and an official expansion of NATO to include Finland and Sweden is only a matter of months away.
Thursday, NATO foreign ministers attended an emergency session to discuss the conflict that is raging in Ukraine and, in particular, the best way to keep Ukraine going within the conflict. This quote comes from a blog post entitled, “Game-changing Weapons begin to flow into Ukraine Following NATO Emergency Meeting”.
In the first place, the participants included not just NATO nations, but also observers: there were observers from the European Union, Sweden, Finland, Georgia, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, and Ukraine. If Putin was worried about being attacked before, he ought to have a look at his map today (just an opportunity to remind us of the fact that Japan and Russia are still in the middle of a border dispute).
A profound statement came directly from Ukraine Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, “I think the deal that Ukraine is offering is fair. You give us weapons; we sacrifice our lives, and the war is contained in Ukraine.”
The actions that were taken by NATO countries suggest that they are in agreement with Mr. Kuleba's statement.
What is going on in Ukraine is more than just a proxy conflict. It has become an easy way of bringing Ukraine into NATO.
Much attention was given to Ukraine having armored vehicles (T-62s as well as BMPs from Czechia, as well as an S-300 surface-to air missile system from Slovakia) but the most important announcement, in my mind was Ukraine purchasing sixteen ZUZANA 2 self-propelled 155mm howitzers.
Western anti-tank weapons have already forced the once ubiquitous RPG-7 to near-extinction. The proliferation of modern anti-tank weaponry that can be carried by a man, including US Javelin and British NLAW to German Panzerfaust 3, has achieved some sort of NATO uniformity. On the side that is anti-aircraft, US Stinger along with British Starstreak is threatening to make the Russian Igla in the direction that the dodo.
It is also not being acknowledged that Australia is offering combat-tested Bushmaster vehicles that aid mobility. The Bushmaster is like that of the US MRAP and provides a large amount of protection for crew members and survival. Britain is also planning on shipping 120 units of its equivalent MRAP Mastiffs, to Ukraine. Again more standardization.
It is also known that the US is ]involved in extensive sharing of intelligence with Ukraine.
The Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency described the exchange of intelligence and information with Ukraine and the United States and the Ukrainians as “revolutionary in terms of what we can do” during an upcoming congressional hearing on Thursday.
Army Lieutenant. Gen. Scott Berrier told the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Intelligence that he would be able to provide more details on the process in a closed-door session.
Army General Paul Nakasone, who is the head of his own department, Cyber Command and the National Security Agency, said that “in my 35 years” there has never been more accurate, timely, and actionable intelligence sharing than with Ukraine.
Sharing this kind of information that requires an actual location creates standard processes for gathering and analyzing intelligence. The procedures created here will eventually become the norm for how the Ukrainian Army operates. Again, NATO standardization. It is no surprise that alongside intelligence sharing is joint operational planning. In order for NATO to effectively provide the services Ukraine requires, it has to be involved in the work of Ukraine's war planning.
Alongside the slow-motion arms process of getting Ukraine's Army to NATO standards for equipment and procedure, there is a strong collaboration between Ukraine's Armed Forces. I've mentioned sharing intelligence above. Joe Biden let it slip that the US Army is training Ukrainian soldiers for unspecified duties in Poland . This week, Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby confirmed the fact that Ukrainian soldiers are currently in The United States receiving “professional military training,” for example, how to operate the Switchblade “suicide drone” system. The Slovak Howitzers require training for the crew;It takes around an entire week to become proficient if they've previously been part of an artillery group. We do not know exactly where the training will be held; however, I'd bet there's a better likelihood of Ukrainian artillerymen undergoing training in Slovakia as opposed to Slovak soldiers who are heading to Ukraine.
On Friday, The Wall Street Journal broke the news that Czechia, Slovakia, and other governments are discussing fixing or rebuilding damage to Ukrainian equipment.
In addition to tanks, Central European governments, including the Czech Republic, are weighing the possibility of Ukraine bringing damaged equipment from war to their country for repair. Slovakia is the only country that has tanks on hand and has been discussing the matter, a top Slovak official has said.
These discussions are part of the realization that the war between Russia and Ukraine could last for months or even years, and that in a war of attrition between Russia and Ukraine, its overwhelming advantage in technology could tip the balance in favor of Moscow.
“If the war is going to get longer and longer, the war equipment that is being damaged needs to get serviced,” said an official of the Czech government from the defense department. “Ukrainian repair houses are 100% busy, and they are asking other nearby allies to help them with repairs.”
In the end, NATO will provide Ukraine with actual armored vehicles and tanks that will substitute for the Russian scrap heaps that they and the Russian Army use. In the future, Ukraine will be as equipped and trained as any of the other NATO countries.
What we're witnessing is an entire and complete integration of Ukraine to NATO without any official declaration. Ukrainian forces are equipped, trained, and supplied with operational information and planning by NATO. Soon, we'll be able to see major repairs for Ukrainian equipment carried out outside of Ukraine. Naturally, the new Ukrainian units will soon be arranged as well as trained to operate in regions Russian missiles cannot strike. We're also witnessing an entire shift from where NATO stood just a few weeks ago.
There are risks that come with these activities. Russia might be able to strike a location within the NATO country aiding Ukraine but, considering what we've seen of Russian military, it's an extremely risky, low-payoff option. But the ease of moving of the S-300 surface-to-air missile to Slovakia to Ukraine, and the fact that Russia has threatened to attack any move like this, makes one to think that NATO has determined that Putin is similar to the midget in the background of The Wizard of Oz and that the chance in not expanding NATO is far more risky than the ones that come with expanding the alliance, either informally or informally.