Ukraine seeks more weapons, while Russia more territories
    Struggling militaries

    ANALYTICS  08 June 2024 - 11:29

    Fuad Shahbazov

    During his most recent interview with the local media, Russian President Vladimir Putin mentioned that Moscow is ready to arm nearly all anti-Western states and non-state actors with long-range missiles if Ukraine uses NATO-supplied weapons to strike Russian territory.

    Recently, the United States (US), France, Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, and the United Kingdom (UK) officially greenlighted the usage of their weapons by Ukraine to hit military targets on Russian soil. Indeed, such a statement provoked a reaction from Moscow.

    The Western allies’ statement marks a change of heart for Ukraine’s allies, which had previously provided military aid on the proviso that the weapons weren’t used to hit Russia directly, and follows Moscow’s recent territorial gains in Ukraine’s northeastern region of Kharkiv. As such, Putin's counterarguments regarding the issue and threats to arm anti-Western actors should come as a little surprise. Since early 2024, Russia has gained the upper hand in the frontline in light of recent advancements toward Kharkiv, which alarmed the Western allies to step up Kyiv's support.

    Amid negative developments, the Foreign Minister of Ukraine, Dmytro Kuleba in May enthusiastically praised US politicians for approving a long-delayed $61 billion military aid package for Ukraine, though he urged that more military aid is needed to defeat Russia and ensure peace in Europe. Currently, Ukraine desperately needs air defence systems to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure that frequently come under Russian missile strikes followed by mass casualties. Therefore, Kyiv is requesting additional US-made Patriot systems from NATO partners.

    To make the process continuous and smooth, the Western allies have now confirmed a special plan to tap Russian assets abroad to fund Ukraine's aid and post-war reconstruction. Undoubtedly, the arrest of Russian financial assets will trigger Moscow's additional reaction. In May, President Ursula von der Leyen mentioned that money generated by Russian financial assets frozen in Europe will soon start flowing to Ukraine, giving Kyiv a boost as it struggles to counter an advance by Moscow’s troops.

    In this regard, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy embarked on his new European tour to visit partner countries to ask for more weapons and military aid. As such, President Zelenskyy recently arrived in Paris to meet his counterpart, President Emmanuel Macron. During the face-to-face meeting, the French president reiterated support for Ukraine, mentioning that Kyiv has the moral right to use French-made weaponry against Russia to prevent further missile attacks on its civilians and large urban areas. Moreover, US President Joe Biden also promised to stick with Ukraine until its victory.

    Zelenskyy is already scoring some wins on his trip. Biden announced that he’s signing a new $225 million Ukraine package on June 7. Some of the money will go to fixing Ukraine's electric grid. The package also includes artillery ammunition, air defence missiles, and anti-tank weapons.

    Simultaneously, Russia cautiously watches Ukraine-West dialogue and flexes its muscles in the Baltic Sea region to exert more pressure. For example, on June 1, Estonia reported that Russian border guards had removed buoys from the Narva River marking the border. A Russian draft resolution published last week indicated Moscow plans to unilaterally change its Baltic Sea maritime border with Finland and Lithuania from January 2025.

    The Russo-Ukraine war has entered its third year as Russia seeks to gain more territories before pushing Kyiv to sign a ceasefire on its favourable terms.


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