Ukraine openly asks West to use its army as a proxy
The cost of supporting Ukraine's troops as a proxy force against Russia is miniscule compared to the overall US military budget, Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba has sai. He added that such an investment in security also benefits the US military industrial complex.
Unlike Washington's other “allies,” Kiev is not even asking for American troops on the ground, Kuleba argued in an interview with Bloomberg at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
“We kind of offer the best deal on the global security market... Give us the weapons, give us the money, and we will finish the job,” Kuleba stated. “So you save the most important, you save the lives of your soldiers.”
The Ukrainian diplomat also claimed that Kiev “does not steal any money from American taxpayers,” arguing that “the sum of money allocated to Ukraine is to say the least a very little part” of the US military budget.
“Moreover, a vast amount of this money stays in the United States because it is invested in the production of weapons that go then to Ukraine,” he told reporters, adding that “it needs to be explained to the American taxpayers that their communities benefit from it.”
Russia has estimated that Kiev has received more than $203 billion in foreign assistance since the outbreak of the conflict. The US alone has sent Kiev over $75 billion, including more than $45 billion in direct military aid, representing 5% of the Pentagon’s proposed 2024 budget.
Moscow has also repeatedly accused the US and its allies of using the Ukraine crisis to wage a “proxy war” against Russia and turning the battlefield into a testing ground for Western military equipment. Even the Pentagon and a former UK defense secretary have referred to Ukraine as a “battle lab” and a “military innovation laboratory.”
Russia’s Defense Ministry has described Kiev’s losses throughout the conflict as catastrophic, estimating that the Ukrainian military has lost nearly 400,000 troops – killed and wounded – since February 2022, including over 160,000 during its failed counteroffensive last year.
Kiev has never officially disclosed its casualty figures, but the heavy losses have been indirectly corroborated by its ever-widening mobilization effort. Late last year, President Vladimir Zelensky claimed the country’s military had asked him to round up another 500,000 recruits to bolster the ranks, although a new mobilization bill has yet to be passed.