Is time the enemy? Why West is giving Ukraine heavier weapons now.


After cautiously providing defensive assistance for much of the war, the United States and NATO are signing on to Ukraine’s increasingly bold efforts to go on the offensive against Russia. The supply of American Bradley armored fighting vehicles – along with German and French commitments to provide some of their own models – underscores the West’s shift.

Even more, and heavier, help may be coming, in the form of tanks that are far superior to Ukraine’s outdated Soviet-era models. In part, the West’s deepening involvement is because of Ukraine’s demonstrated battlefield capability, but also because Russian President Vladimir Putin appears to have concluded that time is on his side. That’s a view increasingly shared among Western military analysts.

Why We Wrote This

The West’s stance on supplying Ukraine with heavy arms has shifted from caution to deep commitment. In part it’s because Ukraine has shown an ability to fight effectively, but it’s also a response to Russia’s own resolve and the war’s sheer brutality.

“I would wish a total victory for Ukraine, but that is unlikely and doesn’t become more possible the longer the fighting continues,” says Sven Biscop, director of the Europe in the World Program at Egmont – The Royal Institute for International Relations in Brussels.

“The thinking at NATO is Russia is unlikely to win,” he adds, “but it’s equally unlikely Ukraine can liberate all its territory. So, best to help Ukraine make its advances and consolidate positions now.”

The Bradley armored vehicles at the U.S. Army’s Grafenwoehr garrison in Germany wave no banners declaring the significance of their imminent dispatch to Ukraine and entry into battle there in the nearly year-old Russian war.

They don’t have to. As one of the Army’s most effective armored fighting vehicles, the Bradley trumpets the next step in a monthslong shift in Western support for Ukraine’s war effort.

After warily providing defensive assistance for much of the war, the United States and NATO are signing on to Ukraine’s increasingly bold efforts to go on the offensive against Russia’s entrenched forces in southern and eastern Ukraine.

Why We Wrote This

The West’s stance on supplying Ukraine with heavy arms has shifted from caution to deep commitment. In part it’s because Ukraine has shown an ability to fight effectively, but it’s also a response to Russia’s own resolve and the war’s sheer brutality.

The supply of the Bradleys – along with Germany’s commitment to provide Marder fighting vehicles and France’s to send its AMX-10 armored vehicles – underscores a new high-water mark in the West’s shift on the conflict from caution to deepening involvement.

Further evidence of the shift comes from the imminent arrival in the United States of around 100 Ukrainian soldiers for training on the Patriot air defense system at Fort Sill in Oklahoma. Until recently, the U.S. had limited any training of Ukrainians on U.S. weapons systems to Europe and was reluctant to send Patriots to Ukraine – over concerns the advanced anti-missile system and training of Ukrainians on U.S. soil would be seen as escalatory by Russian President Vladimir Putin.



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