New round of US military aid to Ukraine has limited effect as European countries exhausted by conflict: experts
Published: Sep 22, 2023 08:59 PM
US Ukraine crisis Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

US Ukraine crisis Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

A new round of US military aid to Ukraine will not bring much change to the situation, and the Russia-Ukraine conflict has already stretched the defense potential and capabilities of many European countries, experts warned on Friday.

The US will provide Ukraine with an additional $325 million in military aid, US President Joe Biden announced Thursday during a White House meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

The package includes air defense capabilities, cluster munitions, anti-tank weapons and other equipment. "Next week, the first US Abrams tanks will be delivered in Ukraine," Biden said. 

However, the White House announced there was no deal to provide the long-range missiles that Zelensky desperately wanted for his troops.

Signs were there that Zelensky's second visit to Washington was not being as eagerly anticipated by lawmakers as it was the last time. The Ukrainian president was denied an opportunity to address the joint session of US Congress, with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said to be behind the decision, according to The Hill.

The battlefield has proven that neither 155-millimeter Howitzer cannons nor anti-tank weapons have brought any change to the situation for the Ukrainian army, experts pointed out.

The weapons and equipment provided are actually quite traditional and will not reverse the battlefield situation, Song Zhongping, a Chinese military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times on Friday, noting the air defense system provided this time is the AIM-9M missile from the 1950s and 1960s, and its technological capabilities are very limited.

To break through Russia's defensive line, long-range weapons are needed for support, which Ukraine currently lacks. Ukraine needs to deeply understand that the US is not fully committed to helping it against Russia, and the US does not want to do so, Song said.

Experts said the upcoming US presidential election will also pose significant obstacles to providing various assistance to Ukraine. From the US perspective, avoiding direct war with Russia and preventing its own interests from being damaged is its highest national interest.

Poland's Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki announced on Thursday that his country is no longer sending arms to Ukraine as a trade dispute between the neighboring states escalates and his party faces pressure from the far right in the upcoming national election.

The prime minister said in a television interview late Wednesday that Poland is "no longer transferring any weapons to Ukraine because we are now arming ourselves with the most modern weapons," according to Associated Press.

To win more support, Zelensky arrived at Ottawa's airport late Thursday after meeting with Biden and lawmakers in Washington, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's office said.

However, as AFP quoted, different interest groups have argued for reducing or even stopping assistance.

The divisions within the European Union regarding assistance to Ukraine have now become public, Zhang Hong, an associate research fellow at the Institute of Russian, Eastern European and Central Asian Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times. 

The issue of grain disputes is one aspect, with some countries opposing unrestricted access of Ukrainian agricultural products to the EU market. Additionally, many European countries have already depleted their military arsenals, Zhang noted.

While European countries such as France, Germany, the UK, and the US continue to provide assistance to Ukraine, some smaller countries no longer have stockpiles to aid it. This indicates that the Russia-Ukraine conflict has already stretched the defense potential and capabilities of many European countries, he said.