US must arm Ukraine now, before it’s too late (2023)

Nearly 20 of our fellow experts and national security professionals — whose digital signatures appear at the end of this op-ed — agree: The war in Ukraine has reached a decisive moment and that vital U.S. interests are at stake.

Long before the Kremlin first invaded Ukraine in 2014, we have — from senior positions in the U.S. government and military — followed Moscow’s foreign policy and the grave dangers it presents to the United States and our allies. We have carefully watched Moscow’s major offensive since February and the response of the Biden administration and its allies and partners.We have maintained close touch with Ukrainian, U.S. and European officials.Two of us just returned from meetings with Ukraine’s defense and military leaders.

Although the Biden administration has successfully rallied U.S. allies and provided substantial military assistance, including this month, to Ukraine’s valiant armed forces, it has failed to produce a satisfactory strategic narrative which enables governments to maintain public support for the NATO engagement over the long term.

By providing aid sufficient to produce a stalemate, but not enough to roll back Russian territorial gains, the Biden administration may be unintentionally seizing defeat from the jaws of victory. Out of an over-abundance of caution about provoking Russian escalation (conventional as well as nuclear), we are in effect ceding the initiative to Russian President Vladimir Putin and reducing the pressure on Moscow to halt its aggression and get serious about negotiations.

Moscow’s imperialist war against the people of Ukraine is not just a moral outrage — a campaign of genocide aimed at erasing the Ukrainian nation from the map — but a clear danger to U.S. security and prosperity.

American principles and interests demand the strongest possible response, one sufficient to force the Russians as much as possible back to pre-February lines and to impose costs heavy enough to deter Russia from invading a third time.With Russian forces struggling to regroup in the east and stave off Ukrainian efforts to retake Kherson in the south, now is the time for Ukraine’s allies to pull out all the stops by providing Ukraine the means it needs to prevail. Dragging out the conflict through so-called strategic pauses will do nothing but allow Putin to regroup, recover and inflict more damage in Ukraine and beyond.

But so far, neither the administration nor European allies have succeeded in making clear why this is important to the United States and the West. It is important because Putin is pursuing a revisionist foreign policy designed to upend the rules-based security system that has ensured American and global stability and enabled prosperity since the end of World War II.Putin’s aggressive designs do not end in Ukraine.As Russian officials have repeatedly made clear, if Russia wins in Ukraine, our Baltic NATO allies are at risk, as are other allies residing in the neighborhood.

Prudent policy today identifies tomorrow’s risk and seeks the right place and time to deal with that risk.For the U.S. and NATO, that time is now — and the place is Ukraine, alarge country whose population understands that its choice is either defeating Putin or losing their independence and even their existence as a distinct, Western-oriented nation.

(Video) RE: ‘US Must Arm Ukraine Now, Before It’s Too Late’ Op-Ed

With the necessary weapons and economic aid, Ukraine can defeat Russia.

If it succeeds, our soldiers are less likely to have to risk their lives protecting U.S. treaty allies whom Russia also threatens.

What does defeat for Putin look like? The survival of Ukraine as a secure, independent, and economically viable country.That means a Ukraine with defensible borders that include Odesa and a substantial portion of the Black Sea coast, as well as a strong, well-armed military and a real end to hostilities.That should ideally include the return to Ukrainian control of all territories seized since Feb. 24 and, ultimately, the lands stolen in 2014, including Crimea. Such a peace is only possible when Putin realizes he is soundly defeated and can no longer achieve his objectives of dominating Ukraine or any other nation by force.

It would be a defeat for Ukraine (and the United States) if in haste to end the fighting, the West encouraged Ukraine to cede territory in return for a ceasefire. That would continue the pattern since at least Moscow’s aggression against Georgia in 2008 in which the West pushes for a ceasefire that effectively ratifies past Kremlin aggression and does not actually force it to stop shooting or taking more territory.(More than 10,000 Ukrainians died after the Minsk agreement ceasefires with scores and even hundreds of Russian violations daily.) A ceasefire would not end Russia’s aggression or its occupation of Ukrainian land; it would simply give Moscow a pause to consolidate its gains and then resume its offensive. Moreover, the vast majority of Ukrainians in recent surveys oppose any territorial concessions in exchange for a ceasefire with Moscow.

Such a plan would also condemn millions of Ukrainians to live under a regime that has committed numerous war crimes, whose senior officials and media have called for de-Ukrainianization of Ukraine, which is already being subjected to forced Russification, including the illegal and involuntary deportation of nearly 400,000 Ukrainian children to Russia for adoption.These measures have prompted a growing number of scholars to describe Russian policy as genocide.

Moscow’s plan now is to make as many gains on the battlefield as possible; to conduct sham referendums in the newly occupied Ukrainian territory as a prelude to their annexation;to undermine unity in the West’s support for Ukraine by cutting off gas supplies going into the winter; and to blockade Ukrainian ports to produce destabilizing food shortages in the Global South designed to blow back on the West.For all of these purposes, Moscow needs time. Which means the United States and its allies must keep the pressure on Moscow.

The Biden administration should move more quickly and strategically, in meeting Ukrainian requests for weapons systems.And when it decides to send more advanced weapons, like HIMARS artillery, it should send them in larger quantities that maximize their impact on the battlefield.

Ukraine needs long-range fires to disrupt the Russian offensive, including Russian resupply, fuel, and ammunition stocks. That means the U.S. should send ATACMS munitions, fired by HIMARS with the 300km range necessary to strike Russian military targets anywhere in Ukraine, including occupied Crimea. And Ukraine needs constant resupply of ammunition and spare parts for artillery platforms supplied from various countries, some of which are not interchangeable. These systems are constantly in use, which makes maintenance and spare parts resupply critical. How and where these tasks are accomplished and the logistics infrastructure to quickly get the equipment back where it can be of greatest use can also make a huge difference.

(Video) Ukraine FM tells NATO members to send arms before it's 'too late' • FRANCE 24 English

Beyond this, Ukraine needs more short- and medium-range air defense to counter Russian air and missile attacks. An increasing problem is the need to deploy adequate countermeasures to hamper the growing prevalence of Russian-produced drones and new ones it is trying to procure from Iran.

The administration has been reluctant thus far to take such decisive steps for fear of provoking Russia, or as National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan recently said at the Aspen Security Forum, “to avoid World War Three.” Putin and other senior Russian officials have at numerous points in the run-up to and following Moscow’s Feb. 24 offensive reminded the West of the dangers of nuclear war. But the U.S. is also a nuclear power, and it is a strategic mistake to suggest that nuclear deterrence no longer works. Nuclear deterrence still works.

It is to Putin’s advantage to threaten nuclear war, but not to initiate it. And we have seen the Kremlin make nuclear threats that proved hollow — for instance in connection with Finland and Sweden joining NATO. If we allow Putin to intimidate us from providing the weapons Ukraine needs to stop Russian revisionism, what happens when he waves his nuclear wand over the Baltic states? And why would the administration assume that Putin would not dare do that with Estonia or Polandif the tactic worked for him in Ukraine?

The stakes are clear for us, our allies, and Ukraine.We should not fool ourselves. We may think that each day we delay providing Ukraine the weapons it needs to win, we are avoiding a confrontation with the Kremlin. To the contrary, we are merely increasing the probability that we will face that danger on less favorable grounds. The smart and prudent move is to stop Putin’s aggressive designs in Ukraine, and to do so now, when it will make a difference.


General Philip Breedlove, USAF (ret.); 17th Supreme Allied Commander Europe and distinguished professor, Sam Nunn School, Georgia Institute of Technology

Debra Cagan, former State and Defense Department official;distinguished energy fellow, Transatlantic Leadership Network

General (Ret.) Wesley K. Clark, 12th Supreme Allied Commander Europe; senior fellow, UCLA Burkle Center

(Video) Fed Minutes Preview | Bloomberg Surveillance 8/17/2022

Ambassador Paula J. Dobriansky, former under secretary of state for global affairs

Ambassador Eric Edelman, former ambassador to Finland and Turkey;former under secretary of defense for policy

Dr. Evelyn Farkas, former deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia; executive director, McCain Institute

Ambassador Daniel Fried, former assistant secretary of state for Europe;Weiser Family distinguished fellow, Atlantic Council

Ambassador John Herbst, former Ambassador to Ukraine and Uzbekistan; senior director, Eurasia Center, Atlantic Council

Lieutenant General (Ret.) Ben Hodges, former commanding general, US Army Europe

Ambassador John Kornblum, former ambassador to Germany

David Kramer, former assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights, and labor

(Video) How War in Ukraine Will Cause Russia To Collapse

Jan Lodal, former principal deputy under secretary of defense for policy; distinguished fellow, Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security, Atlantic Council

Robert McConnell, former assistant attorney general; co-founder, US-Ukraine Foundation

Ambassador Stephen Sestanovich, former ambassador-at-large for the former Soviet Union; senior fellow, Council on Foreign Relations;professor, Columbia University

John Sipher, former officer and chief of station, CIA Clandestine Service; nonresident senior fellow, Eurasia Center, Atlantic Council

Ambassador William Taylor, former ambassador to Ukraine

Ambassador Alexander Vershbow, former NATO deputy secretary general; former assistant secretary of defense; former ambassador to Russia and NATO

Ambassador Kurt Volker, former ambassador to NATO; former special representative for Ukraine negotiations; distinguished fellow, Center for European Policy Analysis

Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, former ambassador to Ukraine

(Video) Ukrainian forces cautiously advance into Kherson, fearing a trap as Russian troops retreat

Institutional affiliations are for purposes of identification only.


Is the US sending weapons to Ukraine now? ›

It has promised four. Overall, the US has sent Ukraine $16.8bn in weapons and other aid since the war began on February 24.

Does the US have enough weapons for Ukraine? ›

The United States has given Ukraine dozens of different munitions and weapon systems. In most instances, the amounts given to Ukraine are relatively small compared to U.S. inventories and production capabilities.

Are arms supplies getting to Ukraine? ›

Since Russia's military operations against Ukraine began on 24 February 2022, bilateral military assistance has been stepped up, with many allies, for the first time, supplying lethal weapons to Ukraine.

Why is US sending weapons to Ukraine? ›

Following Russia's February 2022 invasion of Ukraine, the United States embarked on a long-term commitment to provide Ukraine with the tools and equipment it needs to defend its sovereignty. Since that time, more than $14.5 billion in assistance has been committed to Ukraine.

Who has better weapons US or Russia? ›

Russia possesses a total of 5,977 nuclear warheads as of 2022, the largest stockpile of nuclear warheads in the world; the second-largest stockpile is the United States' 5,428 warheads. Russia's deployed missiles (those actually ready to be launched) number about 1,588, second to the United States' 1,644.

How many fighter jets does Ukraine have left? ›

Russo-Ukrainian War

According to US defense officials, UKAF still has 56 operational fighter jets as of 11 March 2022. In April 2022, an unspecified country has offered parts to help Ukraine restore 20 aircraft to operational usage, US defence official claimed. On 19 September, US Air Force General James B.

How many planes has Russia lost Ukraine war? ›

The Russians Have Lost Nearly 300 Aircraft Over Ukraine—Mostly Drones.

Which country has the most powerful weapons in the world? ›

They are easily the most fearsome weapons on Earth, capable of producing more death, destruction, injury, and sickness than any other weapon.
Treaties that limit nuclear weapons
  • United States - 5,550.
  • China - 350.
  • France - 290.
  • United Kingdom - 225.
  • Pakistan - 165.
  • India - 156.
  • Israel - 90.
  • North Korea - 50.

How much does a Javelin missile cost? ›

FGM-148 Javelin
ManufacturerRaytheon & Lockheed Martin
Unit costUS$216,717 (G-model missile only, FY2021) US$240,000 (missile only, export cost, FY2019) US$249,700 (Lightweight CLU only, FY2021)
No. built45,000 missiles (12,000 CLUs)
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How many tanks has Russia lost Ukraine? ›

And it's a staggering figure as well. According to the Dutch warfare research group Oryx, Russia has lost 1,450 tanks since the war began, nearly 900 of which have been damaged or destroyed. The rest were abandoned by the Russians, and many of those ultimately have since been captured by the Ukrainians.

How many javelins does the US have? ›

More than 50,000 Javelin missiles and 12,000 CLUs are currently in service with the US armed forces and 19 allied nations.

Who is the biggest supplier of arms to Ukraine? ›

Looking at pledges of military aid to Ukraine between Jan 24 and October 3, the U.S. government has committed to providing the most arms, weapons and other equipment by far.

How many tanks does NATO have? ›

These tanks are only used in NATO by their respective countries. There are roughly 200 tanks in service for each tank type, making a total of 800, plus roughly 1500 Leopard 2's and roughly 2500 M1 Abrams. The majority are M1A2's and the rest M1A1's.

What weapons does Ukraine want from the US? ›

Ukraine has called for much greater Western assistance, like fighter jets, tanks, and long-range missiles. Although Mr. Zelensky has asked for ATACMS, the Pentagon has instead provided thousands of satellite-guided rockets and 16 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System launchers, or HIMARS, to fire them.

Can the US stop nukes? ›

A new study sponsored by the American Physical Society concludes that U.S. systems for intercepting intercontinental ballistic missiles cannot be relied on to counter even a limited nuclear strike and are unlikely to achieve reliability within the next 15 years.

Which US cities would be targeted in a nuclear war? ›

The six most likely target cities in the US are as follows: New York, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington, DC. These countries will stay prepared to combat any type of nuclear attack shortly. The nuclear impact could destroy the city and this will lead to a disaster.

Can a nuclear missile Be Stopped? ›

According to The Week, while it is not impossible to create a system that could stop a nuclear attack, it is extremely difficult. One challenge faced by engineers attempting to build these systems is the small size of missiles. Missiles also move very fast, meaning there is a small time frame for interception.

How many Ukraine helicopters has Russia lost? ›

Russia has lost 52 of its own, higher-flying helicopters.

How many tanks has Ukraine lost in the war? ›

19 the Ukrainian army had lost just 320 tanks: 176 of them destroyed. The Ukrainians in the last six weeks have lost 71 tanks and captured 194.

Is Ukraine Air Force still operational? ›

Despite the constant bombardment from Russian missiles and artillery, as well as the strikes on military bases, Ukraine's Air Force has remained largely intact, though it has suffered some losses.

How many tanks does Russia have left? ›

According to the Military Balance 2021, quoted in Kyiv Independent, Russia has over 10,000 battle tanks in storage, mainly T-72s and T-80s.

How many Russian tanks have been destroyed? ›

Based on these estimates, Russia has lost nearly 1,300 tanks – an impressive 40% of its total operational tank fleet.

Which is the deadliest weapon on Earth? ›

Which is the deadliest weapon in the world? The Tsar Bomba is still the most potent explosive ever set off by humans. Of course, there was a huge mushroom cloud from the most powerful nuclear bomb ever dropped.

Which is the No 1 weapon in the world? ›

The explosive yield of Little Boy, the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, was equivalent to about 15 kilotons of TNT; the Russian RS-28 Sarmat (called Satan 2 by NATO) ICBM was designed to deliver a payload 2,000 times more powerful than Little Boy.

What is the most powerful weapon the US has? ›

B53 nuclear bomb
TypeThermonuclear weapon
Place of originUnited States
Service history
In service1962–1997
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Can a Javelin destroy a Russian tank? ›

It seems that the Javelin is very, very good at killing Russian tanks and negating a key Russian strategy for its ground forces. The Javelin missile has a maximum effective range of about 1.5 miles.

What is the best anti-tank weapon? ›

It is important to note that Javelins are the most capable and best known of the anti-tank weapon systems but not the most numerous.

Can a Javelin missile shoot down aircraft? ›

Ukrainian troops have single-handedly destroyed Russian tanks and armored vehicles with NLAW and Javelin anti-tank weapons, and Stinger missiles have shot down Russian aircraft and drones.

How many t 90 tanks has Russia lost? ›

As of 11 November 2022, the open-source intelligence site, Oryx has visually confirmed the loss of 30 Russian T-90s (25 T-90A: 12 destroyed, 1 abandoned, 12 captured and 5 T-90M: 1 destroyed, 1 damaged, 2 abandoned, 1 captured).

How many tanks does USA have 2022? ›

In 2022, the United States had approximately 6,612 main battle tanks in its armed forces, the most of any NATO member state.

How many tanks does the US have? ›

Military > Army > Main battle tanks: Countries Compared
3United States8,725
91 more rows

Can a Stinger shoot down a jet? ›

High-speed Stingers are highly accurate and can shoot down helicopters and other aircraft. The Stinger functions at low altitudes — under about 1400 metres — and its effective range is about five kilometres. However, Stingers are not effective against aircraft flying at low altitudes and high speeds.

Can a Javelin destroy an Abrams? ›

No, Javelin missiles only damage tanks.

Can a Javelin sink a ship? ›

Javelin, yes - it's a guided system with a long range, which could do significant damage to a small boat.

Who has given the most aid to Ukraine? ›

ukraine war

Data from the Ukraine Support Tracker shows that the U.S. has provided by far the most aid to the country, followed by EU institutions (16.2 billion euros), the UK (6.7 billion euros), Germany (3.3 billion euros) and Canada (3 billion euros).

Which country is helping Ukraine the most? ›

The United States has by far provided the most military assistance to Ukraine, more than every other country combined.

How many tanks has Ukraine captured? ›

The Ukrainian armed forces have likely captured at least 440 Russian Main Battle Tanks and around 650 other armored vehicles, according to UK intelligence.

What is currently the best tank in the world? ›

Top 10 Best Tanks in the World 2022 | (Specs, Types, Countries)
  • 1- M1A2 Abrams – United States of America.
  • 2- T-14 Armata – Russia.
  • 3- Merkava Mk.4 – Israel.
  • 4- VT4 (MBT-3000) – China.
  • 5- Leclerc – France.
  • 6- Challenger 2 – United Kingdom.
  • 7- K2 Black Panther – South Korea.
  • 8- Leopard 2A7+ – Germany.

Who has the biggest NATO army? ›

In 2022, the United States had the largest number of military personnel out of all North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) countries, with 1.35 million troops. The country with the second largest number of military personnel was Turkey, with just around 447,000 personnel.

Does Ukraine have better weapons than Russia? ›

The munitions thought to have been supplied to Ukraine give the system a range of about 50 miles (80km), further than the Smerch system on the Russian side. Himars is also much more accurate than the equivalent Russian systems.

Is Ukraine selling US weapons? ›

Russian state TV claims Ukrainians are selling US-donated weapons on the dark web. The BBC investigated one such marketplace, spoke undercover to those apparently selling weapons, and gathered evidence that suggests the adverts for weapons are fake.

Can NATO send arms to Ukraine? ›

Individual NATO member countries are sending weapons, ammunition and many types of light and heavy military equipment, including anti-tank and air defence systems, howitzers and drones. To date, NATO Allies have provided billions of euros' worth of military equipment to Ukraine.

Is the UK still supplying arms to Ukraine? ›

Unspecified number of Javelin anti-tank missiles, on 10 March 2022. The UK announced a further 6,000 defensive missiles will be sent to Ukraine, on 24 March 2022. Starstreak man-portable air-defense systems.

What military equipment is being sent to Ukraine? ›

The U.S. committed to sending 16 105mm howitzers and 108,000 105mm artillery rounds to go with the howitzers.

Has UK supplied arms to Ukraine? ›

Since the start of the conflict in Ukraine, the UK has been a major supplier of weapons and equipment to Kyiv, though on a much smaller scale than the US.

How is the US getting weapons into Ukraine? ›

— The Pentagon has expanded its use of maritime shipping to deliver weapons for the war in Ukraine, U.S. defense officials said, after relying heavily on aircraft early in Russia's invasion to get arms to Kyiv as quickly as possible.

Who is sending the most weapons to Ukraine? ›

Here's what countries are sending to Ukraine:
  • Germany. Since Russia first began its airstrike against Ukraine on Monday, Germany has sent the first of four IRIS-T SLM air defense systems to Kyiv. ...
  • The U.S. ...
  • France. ...
  • Netherlands. ...
  • Canada.
13 Oct 2022

How many Javelin missiles were sent to Ukraine? ›

The JV was awarded a $309 million contract by the US Army on May 16 to manufacture more than 1,300 Javelin systems to meet domestic and Ukrainian demands.

What weapons has Germany delivered to Ukraine? ›

Germany, by comparison, has given Ukraine around $1.2 billion worth of military aid, including antiaircraft tanks, multiple launch rocket systems, long-range howitzers, and shoulder-mounted antiaircraft Stinger missiles.

Will Germany provide arms to Ukraine? ›

Germany provides support for Ukraine by supplying equipment and weapons, these come from supplies of the Federal Arms Forces and from deliveries from industry financed from the Federal Government's funds for security capacity building. An overview.

Has France supplied arms to Ukraine? ›

France has so far supplied Ukraine with 18 Caesar howitzers and thousands of shells (the exact number is not known). Produced by the French arms manufacturer Nexter, the Caesar is a 155-mm truck-mounted howitzer capable of firing six rounds per minute at a distance of 25 miles.

How long will it take for us weapons to get to Ukraine? ›

The new weapons and equipment, being provided under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, are aimed at meeting Kyiv's mid- and long-term needs and could take six to 24 months to arrive.


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