Consequences of West’s Military Balance Change against Russia

Strategic Council Online - Opinion: Based on the latest developments in the Ukraine war Vladimir Putin, citing new sanctions and “aggressive remarks” of the West, led by the United States, has put Russia’s nuclear forces on alert. Abed Akbari – Expert on international affairs

Following this measure and with the increased fear of nuclear war, tensions between the West and Russia have increased. It seems that equipping Ukraine with more advanced weapons, especially long-range missile systems, can be Russia’s main driver for equipping and modernizing missile and nuclear systems. In the meantime, with no doubt, the financial aid and military weapons that are provided to the armed forces of Ukraine by its allies have played the main and leading role in this defensive action and the adoption of Russia’s deterrence approach towards Ukraine and the West.

In the first phase of the war, Western weaponry systems helped Ukraine resist Russia. In the following, we have seen more arms aid from Western countries to Ukraine. Stinger anti-aircraft shower missile; Javelin anti-tank guided missile; high mobility artillery missile system (HIMARS); anti-tank weapon, T-72 tanks; Challenger 2 tanks; TB2 armed drone, M777 howitzer artillery have been among the most important weapons that allowed the units of the Ukrainian armed forces to take stronger defensive actions against Russia in various directions.

In this regard, many financial and military aid as well as the most severe sanctions against Russia contributed to the continuation of the crisis. According to the latest US State Department report on Western assistance to Ukraine published on January 6, 2023, since September 9, 2022, nearly 50 allies and partner countries have provided security assistance to Ukraine. According to the report, as of January 2021, the United States has provided approximately 24.9 billion dollars in security assistance to Ukraine, including approximately 24.3 billion dollars since Russia’s war against Ukraine began on February 24.

Apart from the United States, the rest of the Western countries and allies of Ukraine have also provided a lot of military, financial and humanitarian aid to that country, as such that until November 20, 2022, EU institutions have provided Ukraine with nearly 30 billion dollars in humanitarian aid; Britain more than 7 billion dollars (about 4 billion dollars military aid), Germany nearly 6 billion dollars (about 2.5 billion dollars military aid); Canada nearly 4 billion dollars (about 2 billion dollars in military aid); Poland about 3 billion dollars (about 2.5 billion dollars in military aid) and France nearly two billion dollars (about 500 million dollars in military aid).

However, until recent months, the United States and other donor governments have turned down Ukraine’s request for certain advanced equipment, such as modern battle tanks and long-range missile systems, out of the fear of escalation of the war. Those countries have been concerned that NATO might be drawn directly into the war, which would dramatically increase the risk of nuclear war.

In the meantime, according to reports, the Biden administration is currently considering Ukraine’s request for sending long-range missiles to that country. In the same context, Jones, senior vice president and director of the International Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, overestimated the concern about provoking Putin by sending such weapons and, referring to Russian attacks on civilian infrastructure in Ukraine, believes that longer-range missiles to the Ukrainian forces will allow that country to attack Russian targets at a safer distance, beyond the range of some of the Russian weapons used for counterattacks.

Previously, in mid-December 2022, the United States announced the delivery of the Patriot air defense system to Ukraine. British Defense Minister Ben Wallace also announced on December 12, 2022 in the country’s parliament that if Russia targets the civilian areas of Ukraine, he will consider supplying Ukraine with longer-range weapon systems.

Ukraine has targeted military sites inside Russia in recent weeks without condemnation from the United States, a tacit endorsement of its provocative display of offensive capabilities. In this context, the expression of the West’s desire to deploy more advanced weapons in Ukraine, on the part of Russia, will be interpreted as crossing the red lines of the West, and while prolonging the crisis, it will pave the ground for justifying unconventional actions by Moscow.

Russia’s response to military aid

Following the possibility of sending the Patriot air defense system to Ukraine, the Russian Embassy in Washington announced on December 14 in a statement that any US Patriot missile delivery to Ukraine could have unpredictable consequences and would threaten global security. The next day (December 15), the Russian Ministry of Defense released a video of the deployment of Yars intercontinental ballistic missiles to the media. This was announced just two days before the anniversary of the establishment of the Russian Strategic Missile Forces. In that video, it is announced that those nuclear missiles make it possible to be ready for any strategic action.

Following the reactions to the reports about the possibility of equipping Ukraine with more advanced weapons, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced on January 10, 2023, Russia’s determination to develop its nuclear triad. The nuclear triad consists of intercontinental ballistic missiles, nuclear submarines and strategic bombers. He announced that Russia will continue to develop and maintain ballistic missiles, submarines and strategic bombers, which are the main guarantor of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of that country.

Until now, it seemed that the West’s approach was to prevent the deepening of the crisis and try to avoid a direct military confrontation with Russia. But by expressing a desire to send more advanced weapons to Ukraine and also trying to provoke Russia to take more aggressive military actions, it is possible that the attitude of the West and especially the United States has changed towards escalation of tension. This front seeks to use the war as a cover for the internal conflicts of the system based on liberal democracy while changing the balance towards its side.

The future perspective of this balance is that, contrary to the one-sided and anti-Russian analyzes in the European and American media and news and analytical circles, in the foreseeable future Russia will not allow implementation of Western scenarios on its western border. Moscow probably has the ability to rely on its military equipment to disrupt any military balance based on the alliance of Ukraine, NATO and the United States and to stabilize its desired conditions in the Ukraine war.

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