Why Ukraine Needs Weapons

Just as there is no purely military solution to the conflict in Ukraine, there is no purely diplomatic one. Only by strengthening Ukraine's defensive capabilities – and thereby reducing the chances that a separatist military campaign would yield major territorial gains – can the US and Europe hope for a lasting political agreement.

MUNICH – It has become something of a mantra among diplomats and other foreign-policy analysts that there is no military solution to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. The only viable path to peace and stability, observers almost unanimously proclaim, is a diplomatic one. But, despite the recent ceasefire agreement announced in Minsk, ongoing violence – reflected in the violent expulsion of Ukrainian forces from the town of Debaltseve – strongly suggests that it is time to consider what is needed to block any Kremlin-imposed military solution.

Three influential American think tanks have already done so, and arrived at the conclusion that the United States should begin supplying Ukraine not only with more non-lethal aid – such as drones, armored Humvees, and medical equipment – but also with “lethal defensive military assistance," in the form of light anti-armor missiles. European governments, however, remain unwilling to reconsider their position on supplying defensive equipment to Ukraine, and have instead reiterated that a diplomatic solution is the only option.

Of course, from Ukraine's perspective, a one-on-one military confrontation with Russia is not a viable option. Last year, when separatist forces in the Donbas region appeared to be crumbling under the weight of Ukraine's counter-offensive, it seemed possible that Ukraine would be able to reassert its sovereignty over the area. But the Kremlin quickly deployed battalion-size tactical groups from the Russian army to support the rebels. Ukraine's relatively weak forces did not stand a chance.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

To read this article from our archive, please log in or register now. After entering your email, you'll have access to two free articles every month. For unlimited access to Project Syndicate, subscribe now.

required

By proceeding, you are agreeing to our Terms and Conditions.

Log in

http://prosyn.org/Cq4TaWy;

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated cookie policy and privacy policy.