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Prof. ST Hsieh

Director, US-China Energy Industry Forum


[email protected]

September 7, 2023

The proxy war in Ukraine is more than 18 months without any end in sight. As of now, there are two distinct versions of the war. The only version insisted by Zelenskyy and the US is that Ukraine will prevail eventually, and Russia will be defeated. Although “victory for Ukraine” and “defeat of Russia” have no clear definitions. The other version views the proxy war has lasted long enough and it is time to call it to an end, unfortunately there is no single acceptable exit strategy in sight.

Zelenskyy does not provide any data on the war damages to Ukraine so far only announces Russian’s losses. It is impossible for the public to speculate the updates of relative strengths of Russia vs Ukraine. But we do understand that Ukraine’s “Spring” counter offense has not delivered any credible result: Russians are holding on their occupied Ukraine lands and hold “elections” in Russian. Cold weather will hit Europe in two months, what then?

Now a days, it is rare that US and Chinese experts agree on something. But some of them do agree that “Ukraine is doomed” even with heavy investments from the US and allies. It should be no surprise that as time goes by, less and less support will come to Ukraine for the war.

Ukraine ‘in deep trouble’: Some experts say $1B more from US won’t matter. Live updates

John Bacon, USA TODAY

Updated Thu, September 7, 2023 at 1:06 PM PDT·

A new defense minister, an encouraging visit from the U.S. secretary of state and another $1 billion in aid have fueled optimism in Ukraine this week. But will they have an impact on the war?

Ukraine and U.S. officials says yes. Some experts are not convinced.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, in a briefing Wednesday in Kyiv where Secretary of State Antony Blinken unveiled a $1 billion aid package, said anyone who believes Ukraine and the U.S. won’t stand together “till the end of the victory, today they … received a new signal that they are wrong.”

Blinken was equally positive, saying that progress with Ukraine’s counteroffensive has accelerated in the past few weeks and that the new aid package “will help sustain it and build further momentum.”

Steven Myers, an Air Force veteran, State Department advisory panel member and Russia expert, says the Biden administration “party line” is that Ukraine is winning and that Russia must yield to the West or become a “vassal of China.” Myers says new Ukraine Defense Minister Rustem Umerov, a Blinken pat on the back and the latest aid package won’t dramatically alter Ukraine’s struggle against its far-bigger neighbor.

“There is no effective counterstrategy available to the Ukrainians,” Myers said. “The Ukrainians are in deep trouble.”

Myers told USA TODAY the Ukrainians use “pin pricks” and news about taking back land to demonstrate progress to the West − but are less transparent about the cost in Ukrainian lives.

They don’t talk about the counterstrikes by the Russians, who don’t care about gaining or holding ground in the kill zone and are experts at laying traps,” he said.

Ukrainian forays into Russian territory usually result in drones smashing high-rise windows in Moscow. A Russian rocket attack Wednesday the eastern Ukraine city of Kostiantynivka struck a downtown market, killing 17 civilians hours after Blinken arrived in Kyiv.

Ukraine and the West badly need an exit strategy, Myers said.

“Europe is in more economic trouble than we are. Germany’s in deep recession,” Myers said. “The Europeans are not going to shoulder more economic burden. They need an off-ramp.”

Sean McFate, a professor at Syracuse University and senior fellow at the nonpartisan Atlantic Council think tank, aligns with Myers. He supports the change in defense ministers, saying corruption claims forced the issue. But that won’t change the course of the war, he said.

McFate says the U.S. relied on conventional warfare tactics in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan − and lost. Yet the U.S. has not changed tactics in Ukraine, he says. Russia made the same mistakes early in Ukraine with its ill-fated blitz toward Kyiv, McFate told USA TODAY. Now the Kremlin is relying on more modern tools of war, he said, such as controlling information and mercenary troops.

“Things are going nowhere for Ukraine,” McFate said. “Wars are no longer won like World War II by taking the enemy’s land, killing their troops and flying your flag over their capital.”

Pentagon announces $600M in orders for military contractors

The Pentagon on Thursday announced $600 million in orders for military contractors to support the Ukrainian military. The weapons include long-range artillery ammunition, air defense equipment and mine-clearing gear.

The package differs from the $175 million package that was announced Wednesday. The weapons in that batch, including depleted-uranium ammunition for Abrams tanks, comes from existing Pentagon stocks and can be delivered in days. Thursday’s aid will take contractors months to produce and ship to Ukraine.

The Biden administration has supplied Ukraine with more than $43 billion in military aid since Russia’s invasion in February 2022.

US’ continuing military aid to Ukraine doomed to end in vain while causing long-lasting harm to region: expert

By Zhang Yuying Published: Sep 07, 2023 10:13 PM

The US Department of Defense announced on Wednesday local time a new security assistance package valued at up to $175 million for Ukraine, including depleted uranium ammunition for previously committed Abrams tanks, with experts believing that US assistance will all be futile, as it will not turn the tide of the war and only cause enormous and long-term harm to the region.

Although depleted uranium munitions are not considered weapons of mass destruction, they are capable of causing great harm, especially to people and the environment, Song Zhongping, a Chinese military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times on Thursday.

The reason why there are no restrictions on depleted uranium ammunitions in international treaties is because the US-led hegemonic states do not allow the establishment of treaties specifically targeting depleted uranium ammunition. However, the international community generally believes that the weapon should be banned, said Song.

This would be the first US shipment of controversial armor-piercing munitions to Kiev, after Britain sent depleted uranium munitions to Ukraine earlier, as reported by media.

Since the conflict between Russia and Ukraine last February, the US government has provided more than $43 billion in equipment to Ukraine, including weaponry, training and other military and law enforcement aid, according to media reports.

However, Song noted that no matter how much assistance the US or the West provide [to Ukraine], it will all be in vain and will not reverse the course of the war. Instead, it will cause long-lasting and enormous damage to human health and the environment.

The gap in military strength between Ukraine and Russia is too vast for Ukraine to defeat Russia on its own as long as the US or NATO is not willing to participate in the war themselves, Song said. “Although the US and NATO continue to provide assistance, it is indirect support rather than direct action. As a result, there is a limit to the increase in capacity that can be made available to the Ukrainian side,” he said.

Despite receiving a large amount of weapons and equipment, it is the lack of personnel that is the most troublesome issue for Ukraine. Therefore, it is difficult for Western countries to serve their interests in the proxy war, where they provide funds and military assistance while expecting Ukraine itself to provide personnel, experts noted.

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