by Svetlana Ekimenko, Sputnik
As Ukraine’s summer counteroffensive has failed to break through Russia’s defensive lines, with the Russian military estimating that Kiev has lost over 43,000 troops and more than 4,900 pieces of military equipment since June 4, President Volodymyr Zelensky recently entreated the West to send Ukraine missiles for Soviet-era anti-aircraft systems.
The fact that Ukraine’s president is imploring Western countries to dip into their warehouses and seek out remaining stocks of Soviet-era weapons for anti-aircraft defense is a sign that Kiev’s much-heralded counteroffensive is failing, Andrey Koshkin, a veteran Russian academic specializing in military and international affairs, told Sputnik.
One of the reasons for the Ukrainian military’s inability to turn the tide of the counteroffensive, despite all the billions’ worth of weaponry fueling NATO’s proxy war against Russia, is the fact that Western arms have not turned out to be as effective as they were extolled as by the military leaders of the Kiev regime’s partner states and politicians, he underscored.
In a change of rhetoric, after touting the “effective” US and German air defenses – the Patriot and IRIS-T, respectively – supplied to Kiev as part of the West’s military assistance to Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelensky recently pleaded for more missiles for Soviet-era anti-aircraft systems. Ukraine needs additional missiles for “outdated, but still effective Soviet equipment. We have some such systems, but a shortage of missiles is a fact,” Zelensky stated during a press conference following talks in Kiev with visiting Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store.
The second thing to bear in mind, Andrey Koshkin added, is that the amount of Western-gifted weaponry has fallen far short of the expectations of the Ukrainian Armed Forces and, specifically, Zelensky. It is no coincidence that White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said in spring that the United States had given Ukraine nearly 100% of the military aid it had requested for its counteroffensive, adding that Washington had “handed over almost everything on that list.” That was clear evidence of “shifting the responsibility for the failure of the counteroffensive to the Ukrainian Armed Forces,” Andrey Koshkin said.
“They [the West] also understand that the supplied weapons did not ensure the success of the Ukrainian Army. It turned out that our [Russian] air defense systems are the best in the world, more reliable and efficient than all others. Compare them with the Patriots [a US-made surface-to-air missile (SAM) system], which simply disgraced themselves in Ukraine. In terms of price vs. quality, they lose out to our S-400s. But the Americans are forcing everyone to buy this particular system,” Koshkin noted.
According to the expert in military and international affairs, Zelensky has gone through a reality check moment and realized that he needs Soviet-era missiles.
Ukraine’s appeal for Soviet-era weapons for anti-aircraft defense suggests that the promised Western systems have been successfully destroyed by Russia’s military, Aytech Bizhev, lieutenant general, candidate of technical sciences, and former deputy commander-in-chief of the Russian Air Force on the CIS Joint Air Defense System, told Sputnik.
We know that the two Patriot systems handed over to the Kiev regime were destroyed by Russian high-precision weapons, he added.
Indeed, recently the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) released a video of the destruction of an IRIS-T system with a Lancet-3 kamikaze drone amid Ukraine’s counteroffensive, which the MoD said has failed on all fronts. This was preceded by the Russian Kinzhal hypersonic missile successfully obliterating five launchers of a Ukrainian Patriot system in May.
Furthermore, the West itself has such systems “in limited quantities,” and never anticipated they would be needed to provide air defense to third countries. They had been produced in accordance with their own “territory and airspace needs,” Aytech Bizhev said.
The West will no longer offer Ukraine such air defense systems or missiles, and if it does, they are most likely to be outdated ones, as they are well aware that Russia’s Aerospace Forces would obliterate them before they even enter the air defense zone, said the expert. The West expects that their lifespan is short-lived anyway, he added. Furthermore, Western weapons systems are difficult to integrate with former Soviet air defense systems, it is “too expensive, too problematic,” Bizhev said. As to why Ukraine is looking for Soviet-era missiles and air defense systems, the obvious answer is that they were “the best in the world, the most reliable.” Ukraine has a lot of reserves left from those times, the military expert surmised, and they can still be found in the arsenals and warehouses of former Warsaw Pact countries, such as Germany, Hungary, the Czech Republic, etc. If the US were to pressure those countries to donate some of those stocks, it would be a “cheap,” “reliable,” and “familiar” option, according to Bizhev.
‘Obsolete & Dangerous’
The second important point to consider regarding Soviet-era missiles is that they could be produced on Ukrainian soil, Andrey Koshkin noted. The expert also accentuated that, on a more personal note, Volodymyr Zelensky is acutely aware that unless he can pull off some sort off effective battlefield result, he will lose everything: his position, his accounts, and so on.
“The West has already become skeptical about satisfying all of Zelensky’s requests. He is aware of this,” said Andrey Koshkin. This explains why Zelensky is looking for solutions, and Soviet-designed missiles, which were previously in service with the Ukrainian Armed Forces, could offer a way out of his predicament.
“Staking on the West turned out to be very unreliable, because they supply too little, and their weapons oftentimes pale in comparison with our own,” Koshkin underlined.
That being said, Ukraine might have a big problem finding supplies of such Soviet-era missiles for air defense systems. The fact is that regarding arms depots in Europe, they have already cleared out almost everything they could, Koshkin clarified. European states themselves were eager to rid themselves of old weapons.
“The fact is that the missiles he [Zelensky] is talking about are obsolete, they have already reached their expiration date, and it would be dangerous to use them,” Andrey Koshkin warned.
He pointed out that all such missiles were funneled to Kiev from European warehouses for “disposal.” So it is highly unlikely that they will find anything remaining, unless there are lingering stockpiles in some former Warsaw Pact countries, like the Czech Republic. As for those systems that are still in service in, say, Egypt and India, it would be far too expensive and impractical for Ukrainian suppliers to look in that direction.
Ukraine’s “blinkered” vision has been focused on the promises of Washington and Brussels, Andrey Koshkin said, while the latter have been using Kiev to solve their own problems, such as “disposing” of all their outdated “junk.” Take the case of the US-made F-16s so coveted by Kiev. The US has approved a third-party transfer of the Falcon fighter jets of the older A/B variants to Ukraine. The transfer would be in exchange for the countries in question – the Netherlands and Denmark – being permitted to buy newer versions of the jet from the United States.
As for Soviet-made air defense missiles that are over 30 years old, with some of them reportedly far beyond their expiry date, one can hardly expect them to be combat effective on the battlefield, Koshkin said. But much more important than that is the danger they are fraught with, as, if the missiles are outdated, “they can simply explode inside anti-aircraft missile systems.” Accordingly, any military personnel working with this kind of ammunition would be in a “large risk zone.”
Taking all of these factors into consideration, it becomes obvious that Ukraine remains shunted to the “fringes,” and is seen as expendable by its puppet-masters in the West, while being used to resolve the “problems of Europe and the United States,” the expert concluded.
In Ezekiel 38, we are told that God will put “hooks into their jaws” (hunger) and bring them against the mountains (govts.) of the 12 tribes of Israel who have insufficient defences because of dis-armament… The lands of unwalled villages (walls of untempered mortar) without bars or gates (no defences because of defence cuts after the “so-called” peace dividend), when they (the politicians – foolish prophets) say peace, peace and there was NO peace.