Video Above: With a Seemingly Massive Fighter Jet Advantage, Russia Can't Achieve Air Superiority over Ukraine
The Ukrainian fight against Russia has arguably captured the world’s attention, yet even the most passionate supporters of the cause may not have anticipated what could now be referred to as an “explosion” of continued international support for Ukraine.
Perhaps the horror of Russian atrocities, the sheer aggression of attacking a sovereign nation unprovoked or the willingness to target and kill children are among the many driving forces responsible for the global outpouring.
Russia Ukraine War
The effort is by no means restricted to NATO, as a host of new countries are now stepping up to offer assistance, according to US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin who recently led a multi-national Ukraine Contact Group. Austin announced Austria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Columbia, Ireland and Kosovo as among a group of new nations pledging to help Ukraine.
“That includes some 20 countries that announced new security assistance packages, and many countries are donating critically needed artillery ammunition and coastal defense systems and tanks and other armored vehicles. Others came forward with new commitments for training Ukraine's forces and sustaining its military systems,” Austin said.
Among the many contributions, support from Denmark to send harpoon launchers and missiles to defend the Ukrainian coastline got particular attention from Austin.
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Clearly Ukraine has had success firing anti-ship weapons against Russian warships in the Black Sea, and Ukrainian coastal forces are likely to be closely focused upon preventing or stopping another Russian amphibious attack. Coastal attack weapons, particularly if supported by drones and longer-range anti-ship missiles, could prove useful when it comes to keeping Russian maritime forces at safer standoff distances.
Another interesting variable in all of this is the arrival of heavy armor. While Ukrainian defenders have had great success using dispersed formations, ambush tactics and hit-and-run operations against mechanized Russian armor units, the Ukrainians could also clearly benefit from some heavy armor as well.
This is particularly true in Eastern Ukraine where there are more open plains and terrain hospitable to armored vehicles. Also, more open areas can make things difficult for dismounted forces to use intersections, buildings or uneven terrain to stage ambushes and surprise attacks before dispersing to avoid counterattack. These factors are likely why Austin praised the Czech Republic for its commitment to donate “attack helicopters, tanks and rocket systems.”
Video Above: Tank Modernization in the Russia-Ukraine War and Tank Battles in the Gulf War
Should Ukrainian forces need to dislodge, stall or try to simply stop advancing Russian armored units, the presence of tanks might prove impactful to their efforts. Perhaps Soviet Era T-72s could help slow down heavy Russian units. The most critical piece of arriving weaponry, however, is likely the Ukrainian’s current use of US & NATO provided artillery, as it enables Ukrainian defenders to attack advancing Russian units from standoff distances to slow down their approach.
Added to this, Austin’s mention of “rockets'' seems quite significant as those are the kinds of weapons which might allow Ukraine to target Russian missile launchers which have caused so much destruction against civilian areas within Ukraine.
“Several countries announced new donations of critically needed artillery systems and ammunition, including Italy, Greece, Norway and Poland. And let me also recognize the United Kingdom for its leading role in helping to coordinate security assistance and for the significant quantities of British equipment that continue to flow into Ukraine,” Austin said.
Kris Osborn is the President of Warrior Maven - Center for Military Modernization and the Defense Editor for the National Interest. Osborn previously served at the Pentagon as a Highly Qualified Expert with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army—Acquisition, Logistics & Technology. Osborn has also worked as an anchor and on-air military specialist at national TV networks. He has appeared as a guest military expert on Fox News, MSNBC, The Military Channel, and The History Channel. He also has a Masters Degree in Comparative Literature from Columbia University.