Selling out the Ukraine

Thursday, 14 July 2022 — The Van Says…

gpovanman

HowitzerTop end kit at rock bottom prices. Welcome to the war in the Ukraine.

Preamble

For nearly a year, the western world has been handing assistance to Kiev hand over fist. Whilst the media has given the Ukraine nothing but praise, governments in the West have lavished it with everything else from munitions to money to missiles. There is a problem however. In spite of the West breaking the bank in order to fight Russia to the last Ukrainian, the Russians are breaking the Ukrainians and their western toys pretty much anywhere they please. This is now becoming impossible to hide, a number of westerners now calling for a halt to the assistance being given to Kiev. This article will examine what’s what and where this may all go.

Setting out the Stall

The last year has seen efforts unparalleled in decades on the part of the western world, an operation akin to the Berlin Airlift being carried out in the hope that the Ukraine can fight Russia in a war that was caused through western malfeasance. It is hardly necessary to recount the events leading up to the situation that we see today, but the western capitalist model has been used to the greatest effect, money being pulled out of thin air in a desperate attempt to fight Russia to the last Ukrainian. Against a media backdrop of sympathy and solidarity for a nation that most westerners have no clue about, the narrative of ‘Ukraine good, Russia bad’ has been used to not only keep Washington’s bête noire in the news, but also keep more pressing matters out of the headlines. Just like the pandemic of two years ago however, the whole story is starting to fall to bits, the creeping truth becoming impossible to either hide or justify, Washington and its allies now looking to new tactics in order to ensure they don’t look like the same losers that the Ukrainian government have become. This is all happening in a land that has been riddled by fraud and corruption for the last three decades, a country that did so well under Soviet rule turning into a morass of malfeasance as the ruling classes line their pockets with public funds at every opportunity.

Paying the Bill

Jessica Lewis, the Assistant Secretary of State for Political and Military Affairs stated this week that since Russia’s Special Military Operation in the Ukraine began in February, the US government has provided $7.3 billion in assistance to the Ukrainian government in its efforts to halt the Russian Armed Forces, this sum being paralleled by aid given by other organizations such as the EU, NATO, the World Bank and other organizations at both national and supranational levels. Zelenskiy this week is also quoted as saying that as of July, the country will require a further $65bn this year to ensure that the government continues to function. The alleged magnanimity of the West has been highlighted by the media at every opportunity, yet events are now reaching the point where the increased and accelerated failures of the whole operation from a western standpoint can no longer be hidden, good money being thrown after bad as a bad situation is made worse by appalling western governance.

Pocketing the Profits

Looking at the financial favors being made, one could be forgiven for thinking that Kiev’s financial predicament is being alleviated by the generosity of those who started this war, yet much of the finance that Kiev is receiving is in the form of arms, this meaning that monies that are allocated to the Ukraine actually go into the pockets of the military contractors that fund the machinations of US lawmaking. Be it Humvees or howitzers, somebody somewhere stateside is making a tidy packet out of the purported presents to the Ukraine, yet it gets worse than that, much worse in fact.

Pig in a Poke

Much of the material being shipped through Eastern Europe is surplus stock that has been sat in parking lots for decades, it being ineffective inventory that nobody in their right mind would want to field in war. From M777 howitzers that the US does not want to anti-tank missiles that are approaching their use-by dates, all manner of obsolete ordnance is being shipped eastwards under the auspices of this stopping an apparently unstoppable Russian war machine. This has to a degree aided the Donbass forces, these capturing immense quantities of materiel, yet it simply does not meet many of the requirements of a modern war.

Sold for a Song

To a very great degree, the shipments made to Kiev are worth the sums involved, if for no other purpose than as publicity. Headlines over the last six months have been an echo chamber of support for Zelenskiy, yet the gestures add up to far more than the effect that most of these weapons are having on the conflict. Tales have been told along with photos of the equipment en route to the frontlines, yet look in the right places, and you will see this as a series of burnt-out wrecks within days if not weeks. A prime example of the power of publicity is the delivery of Saxon armored vehicles which has been ongoing since 2015. Former British Army general Richard Dannatt claimed it was ‘immoral’ to supply these due to they being ‘useless’ in high intensity warfare. Along with NLAWs that would have been out of date by the end of this year and clapped-out Humvees that nobody else is stupid enough to buy, the arms sold to Kiev are more use as adverts than as armaments.

Military Marketplace

In spite of the western world shipping all it can to the failing Ukrainian war machine, for many assets, Kiev is not the final destination. As mentioned previously, the country has been ravaged by corruption for decades, and those on the take are not going to let a national conflict affect their revenue streams. This conflict is different however, and due to the fact that corruption has become such an ingrained trait with some, rather than shooting at the enemy as with other wars, the Ukrainians actually attempt to sell them their kit. Tales have been widespread for months regarding the sale of missiles, rifles and even humanitarian aid on the dark net, yet other transactions are taking place that are beginning to cause alarm in western capitals. It is now confirmed that the Russian Army was able to purchase two Caesar self-propelled howitzers from Ukrainian troops recently. Reports say that when new, these cost $7m each, yet ‘negotiations’ enabled the Russians to ‘obtain’ them at the bucketshop price of $120,000 apiece, these being taken to the Russian Uralvagonzavod factory for evaluation. More alarming are the rumors that the much-vaunted HIMARS MLRS systems may also be on the market more than the battlefield. The actual details have yet to be confirmed, but the claimed price is $800,000 for the vehicle and a further $330,000 for the munitions. Apparently this is to be left in the gray zone in order that Russian servicemen ‘find’ it as they advance. The munitions supplied by the US allegedly have a range of 140 to 300 kilometers, which is far greater than that claimed by Washington when this deal was announced. With assets such as these growing legs and disappearing, the scope for smaller pieces of equipment to go walkabout is boundless, yet where all these weapons will go and who will have their finger on the trigger at a later date will be a worry to many as we go into the future.

On the Slate

All the aforementioned magnanimity and generosity on the part of the West does come at a price however. Washington may want Kiev to fight Russia to the last Ukrainian, yet in spite of many of the weapons being substandard, they are flying off the shelves at full price and on credit agreements that are very favorable to the suppliers. It goes without saying that should the country cease to exist as a de jure entity, this debt will be written off, yet for as long as it lasts, a country that cannot pay either the bills or the wages is expected to pay to pay its benefactors back in full. Should there not be any money in the bank, (hardly surprising in the Ukraine really) other forms of payment are expected, grain exports being of prime consideration. This is now causing worries amongst the civilian population who are increasingly concerned as to how they are going to survive in the mid-term if current stocks are shipped abroad in order to stabilize western markets. Should there be another Holodomor this winter, you can guarantee that it will be those capitals that exported the Ukraine’s staples that will attempt to pin the blame on Moscow.

Second Thoughts

Despite western efforts to shore up the sinking fortunes of the Ukrainian government and its armed forces, the light is beginning to dawn on how things are really happening in Eastern Europe. The dreams of Ukrainian triumph are becoming as elusive as the Ghost of Kiev, and some western experts are now saying that for all the support they have given to their useful idiot, governments should consider curtailing or even ceasing their efforts in order to cut losses. The list of goodies that has been bequeathed to Kiev gets longer by the day, but once the narrative gives way to reason, throwing good money after bad, especially when much is ending up where it should not, is simply bad politics. With the western establishment having given both the support and assistance that it has, reverse gear may be a bitter pill to swallow, yet with Russia having performed as well as it has, backwards may be the only way forwards.

Out of Stock

The quantities of materiel that have been sent by nations and organizations is mind-boggling, and this has begun to cause qualms with politicians and military alike in the West, deficiencies in stock leaving gaping holes in countries’ defenses and with the manufacturing sector having been the victim of so many budgetary cutbacks over the years, there is no quick way to replenish NATO’s arsenals. From both a political and economic standpoint, the western world most certainly needs a war, yet with Russia on a high and stocks so low, prudence must be exercised if armies are not to run out of the munitions they need for the conflict they desire.

Summary

A lot has happened over the last six months, yet for everything that has been sent to the Ukraine, little has been achieved. Those sending assistance to Kiev’s useful idiots have for the most part been running a fool’s errand, but in spite of the publicity and support that these shipments have garnered, capitalist governments cannot continue to take losses such as these unless the projected gains are greater. Russia acting after its red lines were crossed has enabled a select few to line their pockets, yet it is the line of contact accelerating westwards that is now of greatest concern.

Even the media are now forced to admit that Washington’s poster boy is now beginning to fail, the rapid advances around Seversk being a good indicator of how Kiev’s fortunes are failing. With a recession now afflicting the West and the public starting to suffer, even in the face of a narrative as strong as has been presented, western governments will have a hard time buying support for the Ukraine at the same time as the very people who they are trying to help sell their gifts at every opportunity.

The Ukraine sold its soul to the Americans in 2014, yet today, many in the the Ukraine are attempting to sell everything they can whilst thousands on the battlefield buy the farm on their government’s behalf…

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