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16 Feb, 2023 14:24

Olga Sukharevskaya: How the West has long planned to use Ukraine to fight a proxy war with Russia

Using Kiev to take on Moscow has been a meticulously planned strategy, long in the making.
Olga Sukharevskaya: How the West has long planned to use Ukraine to fight a proxy war with Russia

Since the beginning of Russia’s military offensive, almost one year ago, Ukraine has received tens of billions of dollars from the West. These funds are directly responsible for the deaths of thousands of people, including civilians in the east of Ukraine. Primarily focused on their own interests, the US and its allies are full aware that the war would have ended long ago, without their largesse. 

Billions spent on murder

The process of pumping Ukraine with money and weapons didn’t begin in 2022. It started eight years earlier, in the wake of the Maidan coup in Kiev. According to Transparency International, in the period from 2014 to 2017, the US alone provided Ukraine with $658 million in technical assistance. By March 2022, US military assistance to Ukraine had topped $2 billion.

Prior to Russia’s military offensive, arms supplies to Kiev were falsely labeled as ‘defensive’ and ‘non-lethal’. In 2016, for example, Lithuania gave Ukraine about 150 tons of ammunition (mainly 5.45 × 39 mm cartridges), 60 KPV, and 86 DShK heavy machine guns. In 2017, Vilnius supplied weapons worth 2 million euros: 7,000 Kalashnikov rifles with cartridges, 80 machine guns, several dozen mortars and anti-tank guns. Since 2018, the United States has been supplying Ukraine with Javelin AAWS-M missiles.

But the real pot of gold landed in Ukraine’s hands last year. By the beginning of October 2022, Western aid commitments to Ukraine amounted to $126 billion. By comparison, the country's official nominal GDP was $130 billion. According to the Kiel Institute of World Economy, direct military supplies and financial assistance intended to cover Ukraine’s budget deficit due to increased military spending amounted to about $93 billion. The figures show that three-quarters of the West's ‘aid’ to Ukraine goes into combat operations. 

It added that the US made the biggest commitment to support Ukraine as of October 2022. This amounted to 45%, or $55 billion, with two-thirds consisting of military aid. Next came the European Union with $48 billion. EU institutions accounted for $19.2 billion, and the rest was provided by individual states. Poland has spent the biggest amount – $7.6 billion, including $4.5 billion on helping refugees. Next came the United Kingdom ($7.4 billion), Germany ($6.7 billion), Canada ($3.2 billion), the Czech Republic ($1.8 billion), and Norway ($1.6 billion). Finally, another $4.9 billion was allocated by international institutions (the IMF, The World Bank). Kiev’s most active “friends” are Estonia, whose aid amounted to 1.51% of its own GDP, Latvia (1.29%), Poland (1.28%), Lithuania (0.83%), and the Czech Republic (0.74%). On the whole, the EU has allocated 0.28% of its GDP, and the US – 0.26%.


Faster, bigger, further

Landing in Ukraine, the huge funds (even by Western standards), transform into masses of weapons that are used to attack residential neighborhoods in Donbass. According to Bloomberg, since the beginning of Russia’s military operation, Western countries have given Kiev over 4,000 units of armored vehicles, tanks, planes, helicopters and drones, artillery weapons, aircraft, and other weapons systems.

But that’s not all. President Vladimir Zelensky has recently toured Western Europe in search of more weapons. Germany finally gave in to his demands and promised to ship 143-145 tanks between March and May. These include: 17 Leopard 2A6s, 24 Leopard 2A4s, 30 Leopard 1A5s, 14 Challenger 2s, 30 PT-91s and 30 T-72Ms. 

The donation of 31 US M1 Abrams tanks has been postponed to the end of 2023 or early 2024. Towards the end of the summer, Germany expects to put 20-25 Leopard 1A5/A5DK on order, and most of the Leopard 1 tanks (124 units) will also be delivered in 2024. That’s 249 vehicles in total. 

There are also active discussions around supplying Kiev with missiles with a range of up to 550 kilometers. According to The Times, these could be Harpoon anti-ship missiles with a range of 240 kilometers and Storm Shadow cruise missiles that can hit targets at a distance of over 550 kilometers. Moreover, Kiev has been eager to get its hands on Washington’s ATACMS ballistic missiles with a firing range of up to 310 km and MQ-1C Gray Eagle drones that can be equipped with AGM-114 Hellfire missiles.

Military jets are also on the agenda. Both the Netherlands and Poland said that they will transfer F-16 Block 70/72 Viper fighters to the Armed Forces of Ukraine. During a meeting with Zelensky, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak asked Secretary of State for Defense Ben Wallace to find out which jets London could potentially hand over to Ukraine, and expressed readiness to train Ukrainian pilots. The British military then suggested other means of guarding Ukrainian airspace, including longer-range missiles and drones.

Regarding fighter jets, German Minister for Foreign Affairs Annalena Baerbock commented that it’s “not a discussion we are having.” Yet, given how Berlin initially refuted tank supplies as well, these words can hardly be trusted. 


Slaughter machines as a gift from NATO

Western ‘aid’ is killing Ukrainians by the thousands. In November 2022, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, estimated that Kiev had lost at least 100,000 servicemen, before deleting her comments after uproar from supporters of Ukraine. Three more months have passed since then. 

Big expansions to cemeteries have sprouted up all over Ukraine. Trying to make up for losses, the authorities have ordered more mobilization. This process has turned into a hunt, with men being dragged to war by force, as dozens of videos freely available online show. 

Given equipment losses, it's likely that attacks on the civilian population of Donbass, Zaporozhye, and Kherson, as well as Russia’s border regions, are carried out almost exclusively using Western weapons.

Evidence of this is seen from video footage of destroyed civilian infrastructure in Donbass. American “gifts” in the form of HIMARS strike residential areas in Donetsk and in the deep rear of the Lugansk city of Schastye. The Kalinin hospital in Donetsk and a hospital in Novoaidar, Lugansk, were both destroyed by NATO weapons.  And this is only a small portion of the slaughter being committed by Kiev, using Western supplies. 

According to UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Izumi Nakamitsu, at least 7,100 civilians have been killed in the course of combat operations since February 2022. “The real numbers are probably much bigger,” Nakamitsu said. Norwegian Chief of Defense Eirik Kristoffersen estimates civilian casualties at 30,000 people. 

There is also evidence that some long-range missiles currently publicly only under discussion have already been provided to Kiev. The head of the administration of the Russian part of Zaporozhye Region, Vladimir Rogov, has reported that Ukrainian missiles hit the hotel complex ‘Hunter's Camp’  in Melitopol, resulting in civilian deaths. However, the city is located more than 100 km from the frontline. 

Fighting Russia until the last Ukrainian

The lives of the Ukrainian people have been sacrificed in the interests of a geopolitical confrontation planned by the West. At a meeting of the Council of Europe on January 24, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said, “We (the EU) are waging a war against Russia, not against each other.” She was subsequently forced to take her words back, but other Western officials have said the same thing, even if in less straightforward ways. 

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has stressed, “If Putin prevails, it will mean a defeat not only for Ukraine but for all of us.” As for Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, he went so far as to call the defeat of Russia “the Polish and European meaning of life.” 

Politicians generally tell the truth only after resigning. Statements from former German chancellor Angela Merkel and former French president Francois Hollande have revealed that the 2014 and 2015 Minsk (peace) Agreements were signed only in order to arm Ukraine and buy it time before a full on military confrontation with Russia.

In other words, waging war with Russia by proxy through Ukraine has been a meticulously planned strategy, long in the making. 

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.