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Wednesday, November 30, 2022

In the Quest to Arm Ukraine, Difficult Choices Have to Be Made

WorldIn the Quest to Arm Ukraine, Difficult Choices Have to Be Made

This week, Russian attacks attacked civilian sites throughout Ukraine, prompting Kyiv’s allies to promptly make fresh commitments to bring in more weaponry and ammunition. The United States has pledged to provide more missile systems for air defence, while Germany has said that it would provide defences of a similar kind “over the next few days.” The head of NATO has said that the organisation would continue to back Ukraine in its struggle against Russia “for as long as it takes.”

Nevertheless, in spite of all of the reassurances, there is still an issue. In addition, Kyiv
needs a larger quantity of the Russian-style weaponry that the Ukrainian military has been trained to deploy, but the accessible worldwide supply of these weapons is rapidly diminishing.

Unlocking stockpiles of Russian-standard and Soviet-style weapons for use by Ukraine has both the promise and the potential for pitfalls. In order to find those weapons, the United States and its other allies have been searching the globe for willing suppliers. This hunt has revealed both the promise and the potential for pitfalls.

There have been some achievements to celebrate. Ukraine is receiving certain Soviet-style weaponry from Finland, including ammunition and rifles that are compatible with the AK-47 assault rifle. Finland has a long history of maintaining a delicate balance with the sensitivities of its Russian neighbour. Ballistic vests, helmets, medical supplies, and other forms of help for the military are being provided by South Korea.

Then there is the island of Cyprus. It has provided a unique perspective on the challenges of meeting the urgent demand for arms that Ukraine’s troops are using up more quickly than they can be supplied with as they win back large swaths of territory and force the Russians to retreat. This has made it clear how difficult it is to keep up with the urgent demand for arms.

After a conflict that left the island bitterly divided between a government supported by Greece and a portion still controlled by Turkey — both of which are members of NATO — the United States imposed an arms embargo on Cyprus that lasted for 35 years until this month. The embargo was imposed to help tamp down tensions after the conflict that left the island bitterly divided.

During that critical period, Cyprus sought for arms and military equipment first from the Soviet Union and afterwards from Russia. Its arsenal of at least ten Tor and Buk missile systems, each of which has the capability of shooting down Russian planes, drones, and cruise missiles, might be a godsend for the beleaguered Ukrainian army today.

On the other hand, the government of Cyprus has made it quite apparent that it seeks replacements that are both new and improved, which might enrage Turkey and rekindle a weapons race in the ongoing dispute that has not been settled. Despite this, on October 1st, the ban was officially removed by the Biden administration, enabling Cyprus to once again purchase American armaments.

Officials from the United States said that the move had been in the works for a number of years and was designed to drive Cyprus away from the influence of Russia. However, in order to protect the sensitive nature of the diplomatic situation, a U.S. official spoke on the condition of anonymity and said that Cyprus was now “a viable possibility” as a supplier to Ukraine.

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