Can America avoid losing weapons in Ukraine?


America is at risk of losing sophisticated weapons and military hardware in Ukraine similarly as it did lose in Afghanistan. Decades ago, during the Afghan war, a large number of Stringers went missing and ended up in the wrong hands. Although several pro-West analysts are forecasting the end of Ukraine war soon – in my opinion, it won’t at least until the US presidential election takes place during end of 2024, where Joe Biden is anticipated of using the war as one of his tools in furthering mass support stating, it is essential for him to remain in the White House to safeguard America’s interest and its dominance in the world. Otherwise, if Washington and its Western allies sincerely want end of Ukraine war and establishment of peace in that region, this can be implemented in less than a week.

Western analysts saw it a “Christmas Miracle” when Russian President Vladimir Putin made an announcement stating his country is “prepared to negotiate some acceptable outcomes” in regard to the Ukraine war. In March this year, Beijing announced its peace plan for the conflict, and Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Moscow to explore feasibility of the plan.

White Russia and Ukraine are locked in a bitter stalemate, with no real changes on the battlefield in the recent months, Western analysts are talking about some sort of ceasefire, armistice, or similar agreement.

Several key policymakers in the West, including the United States are also suggesting an immediate ceasefire and bring Kyiv and Moscow into discussion table to settle disputes amicably. In this case, they are openly admitting that Kyiv actually does not enjoy advantageous position in the war despite the fact that Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky and his key policymakers are regularly propagating of a major victory over Russian forces in a number of regions. Another important point for the Western policymakers in this case is their continuous financial involvements, as the US and its European allies have already spent billions of dollars in Ukraine war, while there are specific reports showing major segment of the Western aid is getting vanished immediately after entering the Ukrainian territory. Global media outlets are also publishing reports about Western weapons in Ukraine being smuggled out and flooding Western black markets.

As the possibility of a ceasefire in Ukraine is becoming imminent, defense analysts as questioning – what will happen after the war, especially with billions of dollars’ worth of American and Western military hardware, which will remain in Ukraine – a country that will focus on rebuilding from war with possibility of weak institutions.

It may be mentioned here that, until date, the United States has given around US$34 billion in military assistance to Ukraine, 48 percent of a total of US$48 billion dollars combined humanitarian and financial aid. Of the total military aid, US$12.7 billion have been provided in the form of weapons and equipment from existing Department of Defense stocks, along with US$1.3 billion in grants and loans to purchase more defense articles.

Commenting on America’s defense aid to Ukraine, experts said, while the United States has an obligation to support democracy and freedom where it is in such danger – it equally is right for the US to demand accountability for the weapons it sends to Kyiv, something that Republicans in the US Congress have been repeatedly calling for. They said, the United States should avoid a repeat of its blunder of the Afghan war. In Afghanistan, the US-made FIM-92 Stringer shoulder-fired missile system were handed over to the Taliban jihadists. In the aftermath of that conflict, the United States launched a buyback program to retrieve the estimated 1,000 Stingers that it sent to Afghanistan. The US$65 million program was largely seen as a failure. The missiles supplied to the Mujahideen soon found their way to a number of countries.

In Ukraine, the US has sent FGM-148 Javelin, which according to Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl have “probably” destroyed half of Russia’s main battle tanks with many destroyed by the Javelin. United States has supplied over 8,500 FGM-148 Javelin along with over 1,650 Stringers, 1,800 Phoenix Ghost Tactical drones, and 2,500 in various types of missiles and rocket systems. But Washington is unable to monitor these sensitive weapons.

It may be mentioned here that, corruption-plagued Ukraine is the poorest country in Europe and second most corrupt nation on the continent. It is ranked 122nd in the world for corruption—a place it shares with Estwani, the last absolute monarchy in Africa. At the end of the Cold War, Ukraine was notorious for the illegal arms trade, a result of the massive former Soviet stockpiles in the country. From 1992 to 1998, the country lost US$32 billion in military equipment through theft, lack of oversight, and discounted sales.

EUROPOL, the EU Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation, has stated that “the proliferation of firearms and explosives in Ukraine could lead to an increase in firearms and munitions trafficked into the EU via established smuggling routes or online platforms”.

It added that the threat may be even higher at the end of the conflict. Weapons sent to Ukraine have already been found in underground networks in Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Poland and the Netherlands.

It is easily understood that major segment of these smuggled weapons are landing into the hands of terrorist and jihadist groups, including drug cartels in Colombia, Panama, Nicaragua and Mexico. Meaning, aftermath of the Ukraine war would be a genuine headache for the Western countries and the world.

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