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The war in Ukraine and arms supplies from the West. Director of the Polish Institute of International Affairs Sławomir Dębski comments

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It was obvious to me that the moment of increasing the supply of Western arms to Ukraine would come. If you say “A”, you have to say “B”, said Sławomir Dębski, director of the Polish Institute of International Affairs, in an interview with the Polish Press Agency. As he said, “On January 20, a meeting of the so-called Ramstein Group, i.e. countries that are arming Ukraine, is to take place.” – There will be new commitments and new declarations – he added.

Director of the Polish Institute of International Affairs, Sławomir Dębski, Ph.D., stated in an interview with the Polish Press Agency that “increasing arms supplies from Western allies to Ukrainethat we are currently seeing is, of course, a breakthrough, but firstly, this is not the first breakthrough, but the next one.” – Secondly, this is a breakthrough that should have been expected – said the historian.

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According to him, this is the beginning of the process of re-arming the Ukrainian army with advanced Western-made weapon systems. According to Dębski, this is a “moment of historical breakthrough”.

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Ukrainian tank, Donbas (photo from 20/12/2022)PAP/Vladyslav Karpovych

Patriot systems and Leopard 2 tanks for Ukraine

In recent weeks, the number of announcements regarding new deliveries of Western weapons to Ukraine has increased. In addition to the most modern anti-aircraft and anti-missile systems, such as the Patriot system, Ukraine will receive Western-made armored personnel carriers, rocket artillery, and more gun-howitzers. On Wednesday, during a visit to Lviv President Andrzej Duda announced that Ukraine will also receive Leopard 2 tanks from the international coalition.

Duda: A company of Leopard tanks will be transferred to Ukraine as part of the coalition TVN24

– We have a change, but it’s not an unexpected change. It has long been known that the first stage of deliveries will be the delivery of post-Soviet equipment, but this stage had to end, because the West does not have unlimited resources and due to their depletion, a decision will have to be made to supply Western equipment, Dębski told PAP.

– On January 20, a meeting of the so-called Ramstein Group, i.e. countries that are arming Ukraine, is to take place. New commitments and new declarations will be made there, added the director of PISM.

As he pointed out, “all that we are currently dealing with in the public domain is the preparation of this decision.”

Dębski: if you say “A”, you must say “B”

Dębski noted that the increase in Western aid for Kiev is a natural consequence of the political and legal assessment of Russian aggression.

“It was obvious to me that this moment would come. If you say “A”, you must say “B”. If the policy of the free world countries towards Russia and Ukraine does not change, if the political and legal assessment does not change, i.e. that we are dealing with unjustified, illegal aggression by Russia and Ukraine is waging a just defense war, then the policy of supporting Ukraine must follow follow this – the analyst said, noting that “since we agree that Ukraine has the right to push the Russians out of its territory, we must be consistent and provide them with the appropriate means for this.”

– All this could have been delivered a year ago, but it was delayed, among others by for political reasons, as well as hesitations whether Ukraine can handle the service, whether this equipment will not go to waste, and so on. In my opinion, better late than never, but if it had been earlier, Ukraine would probably have done better – said the director of PISM.

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Dębski: a victim of assault can defend himself with everything he has at his disposal

He noted that he rejected the division into “defensive and offensive” weapons, appearing in the debate, among others in the context of possible “escalation”.

– It’s publicity. Any weapon that is used by a state in a defensive war defending itself against aggression is a defensive weapon by definition. It was not Ukraine that attacked Russia, but Russia that attacked Ukraine and Ukraine can defend itself with all available means. If it had nuclear weapons, it could also use them to defend itself, it is obvious, a victim of an attack can defend himself with everything he has at his disposal, argued Dębski.

Photo from January 11

Ukrainian soldiers near SoledarPhoto from January 11East News/Associated Press

He noted that in the West we are dealing with a democratic community within which a democratic debate takes place and must take place. – Undoubtedly, the decision to deliver Western models of weapons was also influenced by the observation that the Ukrainian army is able to use the most modern Western equipment effectively and adapt quickly – he pointed out.

As he added, “No one has any illusions about Russia’s goals after Vladimir Putin announced that his goal is to destroy Ukraine, that it is an artificial state, and that the Ukrainian nation does not exist.” – After everyone saw how Russia was fighting. It was not a surprise to any nation neighboring the Russians: they murder, they rob, destroy, burn, rape in order to break the will to resist. This is how Russia has been fighting for centuries, said Dębski.

“This war has a personal dimension for Putin”

He added that from the beginning of full-scale aggression in February 2022, it was clear that Putin “is not just about another piece of Ukrainian territory.” But there was also uncertainty about what to do about it. There could have been arguments that maybe Putin would resign, that maybe failures at the front would convince him, assessed Dębski.

– This war has a personal dimension for Putin. Had it not been for his personal decision, it would not have started. He counted on the fact that only he had the courage to decide to use war to achieve political goals. So he assumed it was that will that would give him the edge he needed to win. He was wrong. But he does not accept it – emphasized Dębski, adding that “there is absolutely nothing to indicate that the Russian leader is even considering the possibility of ending the war.” “He still thinks he’s winning or that he can win, so the war goes on.”

Russian truckSergei Malgavko / TASS / Forum

– Putin wants an unconditional capitulation from Ukraine, and thus consent to the liquidation of Ukrainian statehood, and neither President Zelensky nor any other leader of Ukraine will agree to this, because society does not agree to it. The democratic world cannot accept a situation in which, as a result of its own omission, there would be an extermination of a European nation, some new holocaust. As a result, it has to support Ukraine in its defensive war. There is a growing awareness that the war will end only when the Russian potential is so broken that it becomes obvious to the Russians that they have lost the war, and Ukraine will simply defend itself, said Dębski.

The effect of Russian aggression, he added, is i.a. a change in the policy of Sweden and Finland, which abandoned their policy of not joining defense alliances and decided to join NATO. The North Atlantic Alliance began to adapt its strategic doctrine to the new situation. “Everyone adapts, including politicians,” he stressed.

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– Of course, there are many calculations related to this, but in the end it is definitely better to stop Putin’s aggression away from NATO territory than to defend the Baltic states later with the same tanks that are dusting in warehouses today – argued Dębski, adding that it is primarily about German Leopards 2.

Dębski: We are dealing with a weak German government

Dębski called Germany a key country from the point of view of European involvement in helping Ukraine. – This is the largest, richest country, which, in my opinion, should have created a fund to buy arms for Ukraine a long time ago, be a leader in aid. The problem is that we are dealing with a weak German government that is divided on this issue, assessed Dębski.

In his opinion, the situation in Germany will also affect Polish politics. – On the one hand, we have Russia, where more than 70 percent of people declare that they support the war. On the other hand, there is Germany, where one of the main political parties, the ruling party, is against providing military aid to Ukraine. This is the result of a lack of leadership, an absolutely scandalous level of debate on this issue within Germany. Poland lies between these two nations, one of which wants war, and the other does not want to effectively help Ukraine. This will have political consequences. Because the awareness of this in Poland will grow, it will affect society, Polish elites, governments, attitudes towards Russia and Germany, and investments in its own defence, said Dębski.

Main photo source: PAP/Vladyslav Karpovych

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