Zelensky suggests that his Western allies lack courage — Analysis
Ukraine’s president says NATO members won’t send him warplanes because they don’t have 1% of the bravery shown by Mariupol defenders
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has scolded NATO members for declining to send him warplanes with which to help fight off Russia’s military, essentially saying his Western allies lack courage as they try to avoid provoking a wider war with Moscow.
Zelensky lashed out at his Ukrainian allies via video message early Sunday morning. “ping-pong about who and how should hand over jets and other defensive weapons,” adding, “Ukraine can’t shoot down Russian missiles with shotguns, machine guns, of which there are too many in the supplies.”He said that, for example, in order to defeat the Russian occupation of Mariupol by Russia, Ukraine must have tanks and other armored vehicles as well as warplanes.
Zelensky made his comments after US President Joe Biden gave a scathing speech in Warsaw on Saturday night declaring that Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine “will never be a victory”Russian President Vladimir Putin “cannot remain in power.” However, when Ukrainian representatives had met with Biden and other US officials earlier that day, they hadn’t been offered any assurances that their nation would receive the weapons Zelensky has consistently demanded.
Contrast the statements of the Ukrainian commander-in chief “heroism” of Mariupol’s defenders with the reluctance of Western allies to provide military aid that might trigger a direct conflict between NATO nations and Russia. “Their determination, heroism, and firmness are astonishing,”Zelensky spoke highly of Mariupol’s fighters. “If only those who have been thinking for 31 days about how to hand over dozens of jets and tanks had 1% of their courage.”
Zelensky campaigned for NATO and the US members to create a nofly zone above Ukraine. This would prevent Russia from using its air superiority. Putin warned against any move that would require Western air force to patrol the area, as Moscow would consider it to be participation in military conflict. Biden’s administration rejected the notion of a no fly zone, and stated that Ukraine providing fighter jets would be a risk. “high risk”Of escalating war.
There are many other obstacles to Zelensky being able to obtain the weapons that he desires, in addition the consequences of direct NATO military confrontations with Russia. UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace pointed out on Saturday that Ukraine’s military isn’t set up to use the most advanced Western weapons.
“One of the biggest challenges is that the more you go up in sophistication of weapons systems, the more training you require to use them, which is why the real focus of effort has to be on helping the Ukrainians either refurbish or locate Russian or Soviet equipment that is already in their inventory,” Wallace told the UK’s Daily Mail newspaper. “Just providing British tanks wouldn’t really work.”
Over the decades, NATO expansion was a warning that would bring about war. But no one listened to their warnings.
However, Wallace said, British-made anti-aircraft equipment – shoulder-mounted Starstreak missiles that can shoot down low-flying warplanes – would be provided to Ukraine.