Military Analyst Outlines How NATO Needs to Adjust to Putin’s ‘Hybrid War’

Experts argue that the United States isn’t doing enough to support Ukraine throughout Russia’s war against the country. One military analyst broadened that criticism to include all member countries in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the European Union (EU).

Russia launched a “special military operation” against Ukraine in February 2022, and despite plans to gain quick control over Ukraine, the war is now nearing its one-year anniversary.

Throughout the last year, NATO and EU countries have aided Ukraine by supplying the nation with tools it needs for the war. Such tools include various missile systems and tanks. NATO’s support allowed Ukraine to launch a strong counteroffensive attack in the fall, but fighting success stalled on both sides during the winter months.

In an opinion article written in the Kyiv Post, military analyst Hans Petter Midttun argues that Western nations aren’t doing enough to support Ukraine in a way that will lead to victory. He said NATO’s support, including from the U.S., is reactive.

A Ukrainian serviceman rides on a T-64 Main Battle Tank near the front line in the Donetsk region on February 4. A military analyst recently argued that despite sending tools like tanks to Ukraine, the U.S. and other NATO countries aren’t doing enough.

Midttun said Ukraine’s success in the war has emboldened NATO countries that were previously wary of Russia’s retribution.

“This professionalism has helped Ukraine receive more sophisticated new weapons as well as test Russian resolve,” Midttun wrote.

However, Midttun stressed that the West needs a new strategy to help Ukraine end the war on its terms.

“The U.S., EU and NATO need a strategy that is proactive and ensures that the West and Ukraine gain the initiative,” Midttun wrote. “It is time to acknowledge that Russia is waging a hybrid war against both NATO and EU members and act accordingly.”

Midttun argued that Ukraine will be better suited to win the war if it has adequate equipment to fight a long-range war, such as modern combat aircraft like F-16 fighter jets. However, President Joe Biden has refused to supply the jets.

Midttun said the jets and long-range fire weapons are “crucial” for Ukraine to gain the upper hand in the war, as they would allow Ukraine to attack Russian territory and destroy Russian equipment such as aircraft, missile systems and artillery before the equipment is used against Ukraine.

Ukraine does not have a significant domestic military industry to turn to in the absence of Western support. Much of it has already been destroyed by Russia. As such, Ukraine is dependent upon Western defense and financial aid.

However, other nations have strongly advised NATO against further support of Ukraine, citing a heightened risk of another World War.

Newsweek previously reported that Chinese military experts said NATO’s involvement in Ukraine could escalate the “danger of ‘another World War,'” according to the Global Times, a Chinese state media outlet.

Newsweek reached out to the Center for Strategic and International Studies for comment.

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