New Arms Coming In: Where Does the War End?

Jubaida Auhana Faruque | 24 May 2023
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It is no news that the West has stood by Ukraine since Russia decided to penetrate its border with an invasion and declaration of war. Not only have they been providing vital humanitarian assistance to protect and support the civilian population, but they have also taken decisive action through NATO, providing Ukraine with essential heavy weaponry to counter the might of Russia. The collective support from the international community has been crucial, and it is highly doubtful whether Ukraine would have been able to endure for even a month without these timely and strategic interventions.

While the countries and NATO have refrained from deploying their troops in the field, they have been actively equipping Ukraine with a wide array of modern weaponry, ranging from small arms such as carbines, medium machine guns, sniper rifles, pistols, and assault rifles to formidable heavy weaponry like tanks, self-propelled artillery, combat vehicles, and Stryker armoured fighting vehicles. In addition, they have supplied various types of missiles, interceptor missiles, long-range rockets, and drones, with promises to deliver even more advanced arms such as fighter jets and High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems1. Moreover, the US State Department has declared its additional security assistance package for Ukraine this May that will cover up to $300 million in expenses in this plan2, and Rishi Sunak has promised to provide hundreds of long-range attack drones and air defence missiles from the UK during his recent meeting with Zelensky3. Since April 2023, Ukraine has received 1,550 armoured vehicles and 230 tanks from NATO allies and partner countries, which make up almost 98% of their war weaponries4. With Putin getting adamant about winning the war and Zelensky using his allied power with other countries, it is generally understood that more ammunition will be entering Ukraine, and until anyone’s war machines exhaust, the world will keep spectating the war. This poses the question of how long this will go on and if there will be an end to this war in the near future.

Since it is clear that the prime NATO allies like the US, the UK, and Germany are allotting substantial amounts of budget to support the war in Ukraine, the capacity of Russia will determine how long Ukraine’s weapon cargo routes need to be kept open. Unlike Ukraine, Russia's procurement of military supplies is primarily reliant on its domestic stock and speculative reports of potential arms acquisitions from other countries. While there have been reports of Iran selling drones to Russia, the extent and significance of such transactions remain subject to verification5. Speculations suggest the possibility of future arms deals with countries like North Korea6 and an alleged engagement with South Africa7. However, it is important to note that concrete evidence and official confirmation regarding these claims are limited, making the exact nature and scope of Russia's external military support uncertain. But rumours do not help soldiers in the field. The Ukrainian stance in the war is getting better, and Russia is accused of falling backward in the battles8. The war scenario is becoming hazy, with Russia winning over territory one day and Ukraine demanding to recapture it the next. But it is really a matter of concern to analyse how long these weapon supplies will continue and carry on with refuelling the war. It is predictable that immediately after the West, vis-à-vis NATO, stops its supply, Ukraine’s defence will collapse, and Putin will gain whatever he wants. Again, the allies are not willing to accept that outcome, which is making Putin take every vicious and weird move to gain the upper hand. The situation got so worse that there was even fear of nuclear war9. Basically, the whole scenario has spiralled into a dilemma of security that will ultimately determine the result of the war. But countries, including the warring parties, need to come to an understanding of how long they can continue this vicious game, and in order to put an end to it, they should try to come up with a peaceful non-zero-sum method without disrupting the balance of global peace any further.

Jubaida Auhana Faruque
Executive Policy Assistant
Centre for Governance Studies