US gets anxious as Russia has survived war of attrition against entire NATO
Published: Mar 01, 2023 07:50 PM
Illustraion: Chen Xia/GT

Illustraion: Chen Xia/GT

The US has recently repeatedly claimed that China is preparing to provide "lethal military aid" to Russia in the ongoing Ukraine conflict, which is to incite the Western public opinion to pile pressure on China. China has firmly denied the allegations made by the US. What is the US meant to do? 

I believe the US is engaging in a "preemptive accusation" to prevent China from weighing in the conflict. Ukraine war has been going on for more than a year. According to the West's previous calculation, Russia should have already collapsed by now. They didn't expect that Russia can still sustain now, and in recent days, it is advancing the encirclement of Bakhmut, a key hub for the supply route of the Ukrainian troops.

This war can no longer be viewed as a Russia-Ukraine conflict, which has evolved into a war of attrition between Russia and the West. Ukraine provides troops, it is receiving all of its military supplies, including ammunition, from NATO. While NATO is supposed to be much stronger than Russia, the situation on the ground doesn't appear so, which is causing anxiety in the West. 

For example, last year, the Russian military consumed about 50,000 various types of shells per day, while Ukraine was only able to fire 5,000 shells per day. By the end of the year, the Russian military was firing more than 20,000 shells per day, while Ukraine was still firing 5,000-7,000 shells per day, much lower than Russian troops. 

This is a clear indication of the industrial nature of the war: the result depends on which side can produce more tanks and artilleries. Both sides are using artillery as machine guns. One hundred shells may not be enough to eliminate one enemy soldier. 

Furthermore, Ukraine's own arsenal factories have been destroyed by Russia, and Ukraine's daily firing of 5,000 shells is equivalent to the annual supply of a small NATO country. The United States originally purchased 15,000 shells per month, but the outbreak of the Ukraine war led to a sharp increase in purchases for aid. Western media have exclaimed that the sum of all NATO countries' shells is not enough to meet the needs of the Ukraine in the battlefield. Even if the Russian military was firing 20,000 shells per day, their ability to supply was still shocking to the West. Where are these shells coming from? The West believes that Russia has purchased some "low-quality shells" from North Korea, but North Korea could not produce so many shells.  Therefore, Russia cannot be underestimated. Although its economy is not large and it is seen as poor in the eyes of the West, its military-industrial mobilization capabilities are obviously stronger and more effective than those of the West. The military-industrial foundation left over from World War II and the Cold War has at least been partially activated at critical moments to supply ammunition to the front-line troops. In addition, Russia has air superiority in Ukraine and long-range missile strike capabilities, which can more effectively destroy Ukrainian ammunition depots, causing many weapons provided by the West to Ukraine to be destroyed before they can be used.   

The US and the West have found it much more difficult than expected to defeat Russia. They know that China has not provided military aid to Russia, and the question that haunts them is: if Russia alone is already so difficult to deal with, what if China really starts to provide military aid to Russia, using its massive industrial capabilities for the Russian military? Would the situation on the Ukrainian battlefield fundamentally change? Furthermore, Russia alone can already confront the entire West in Ukraine. If they really force China and Russia to join hands, what changes will there be in the world's military situation? 

Recently, Russian President Putin stated that it is impossible to defeat Russia on the battlefield. The current tactic of the West is problematic. They want to keep dragging on until Russia collapses on its own. But what if the Russian military launches a spring offensive and succeeds in completely pushing the Ukrainian troops out of the Donbas region? It would not be just Ukraine's failure anymore, but also a humiliation for the United States and the West. If the military aid of the US and the West catches up and helps the Ukrainian troops repel the Russian military, are they not afraid that Putin will use nuclear weapon when he gets impatient? If nuclear weapon is used, the battlefield pattern previously created by artillery shells could be completely reset and rewritten. Many Westerners are actually worried about this, and the US government is also concerned, but they seem incapable of balancing everything and forget that helping the Ukrainian troop win is just a comma, not a period. 

So it's better to listen to China. While the situation is deadlocked, but there is still room for maneuver, negotiations should be carried out to end the war earlier for the benefit of everyone.

The author is a commentator with the Global Times. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn