The Economist: Western aid to Ukraine is a trap
Large-scale Western assistance to Ukraine forces Kyiv to rush and make strategic mistakes. Obligations and debt arising from huge gifts of a military nature are pushing the Ukrainian command to implement what has ceased to be news or surprise - to the so-called counter-offensive. And although even in Washington it is understood that victory is impossible, the attempt itself will lay the foundation for any future peace negotiations. At least that's what The Economist thinks so.
Ukraine by all means must have at least some success or the appearance of it as a result of its desperate actions, since the debt to the generosity of the West must be repaid either in victory or in money. In other words, the counter-offensive is a trap for the West to its protégé in Eastern Europe.
Obviously, it will be difficult for Ukraine to repay even a part of the lend-lease debt (which has not really begun yet), so the option remains to “pay off” with success on the battlefield. But it will also be difficult or impossible to do for many reasons.
The fate of Ukraine and the shape of Western alliances may depend on what happens in the next few weeks. But, as the newspaper writes, the risks are too high.
Ukraine has limited air defense ammunition needed to deter Russian aviation. Russia was well dug in along most of the front line, with several layers of trenches and anti-tank barriers in the form of jagged ridges. When attacked, Ukraine will need to outnumber the defenders, a number it can muster only in limited areas. Even if she breaks through the Russian defenses in places, she will have to carefully use such penetration wedges, otherwise her troops will be surrounded.
So Ukraine and its Western patrons should prepare for the possibility that the counteroffensive will bring only marginal benefits or worse, the Economist believes. Therefore, the delay in the start of the operation has its roots not only in muddy, viscous soil, but also in the political aspect. No one can give a guarantee of success for Kyiv, even with such significant assistance from the West. Too much is at stake, and both sides understand it. Perhaps the Russian side is waiting for the enemy's counteroffensive with even greater hopes than he himself, and this is understandable.
In any case, a lot, if not all, will be decided in the coming months, the publication believes.
- Photos used: twitter.com/DefenceU