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    Front-line NATO allies say the West needs to give Ukraine the 'technological superiority' it needs to beat Russia

    By Jake Epstein,

    8 days ago
    A Romanian Air Force F-16 escorts a C-27J Spartan aircraft during an air policing exercise above eastern Romania on March 6. Ukraine has long been waiting for NATO to provide it with the American-made fighter jets.
    • The West has outfitted Ukraine with billions of dollars in security assistance to fight Russia.
    • But it needs to give Ukraine the weapons it needs to actually win the war, NATO members say.
    • The three Baltic states said Moscow must be left unable to pose a threat in the future.

    The West should send Ukraine the kind of weapons it needs to inflict a lasting, strategic defeat on Russia, NATO countries on the front lines of the military alliance said Tuesday.

    The defense ministers of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania — the three Baltic states that border Russia and staunch supporters of the Ukrainian war effort — urged the West to help Ukraine in a way that renders Moscow militarily unable to take this sort of action in the future, arguing this means increasing political and military support for Kyiv.

    There is a key "strategic difference" between helping Ukraine fight Russia, as the West has been doing throughout the full-scale war, and helping it actually win, Estonian Defense Minister Hanno Pevkur said during a roundtable discussion hosted by POLITICO and German television outlet Welt on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Washington, DC.

    Pevkur said the options are to either support Ukraine for "as long as it takes" — a phrase, often used by the US to describe its intentions, that has been met with criticism — or give Kyiv everything it needs so that it can actually win.
    A US-provided M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System launches a rocket on Russian positions in December 2023 in Ukraine.

    "There is a technological superiority in the West over Russia, but we are not giving that to Ukraine at the moment," Pevkur said, explaining that NATO has refused to act with urgency when making decisions about long-range munitions, fighter jets, and other weapons.

    NATO members have given Ukraine tens of billions of dollars in security assistance since Russia's full-scale invasion began in February 2022. Some of this weaponry is considered to be highly advanced and better than its Russian counterparts. But the West has also been reluctant to provide Kyiv with the more powerful tools available in its arsenal.

    The three Baltic states have consistently been strong advocates of sending more security assistance to Ukraine, fearing that, because of their geographical proximity to Russia, they would be the first ones targeted if Moscow ever decided to attack deeper into Europe.

    With this threat in mind, the Baltic nations have long pushed for increased defense spending among NATO member states. They are among the alliance's top defense spenders as a share of GDP, and they are also outspoken on NATO's ability to deter a broader attack from Russia.
    Estonian Defense Minister Hanno Pevkur addresses the US Chamber of Commerce in Washington, DC, on July 9.

    But sending a message of deterrence might not be enough on its own. Laurynas Kasčiūnas, Lithuania's minister of national defense, said if NATO wants to contain and damage Russian power, it should consider the fact that Ukraine is asking for ammunition and weapons — not Western troops.

    "They are ready to fight and to push back [the] Russians — not only from Ukraine, but also from Europe," Kasčiūnas said at Tuesday's event. Backing Ukraine means "building up European security," he added.

    "The goal must be [the] strategic defeat of Russia in Ukraine," said Latvian Defense Minister Andris Sprūds. He said this means Ukraine regains all the territory it's lost since 2014 — when Russia first invaded the country — and that Moscow is unable to wage any type of future conflict against Ukraine, its neighbors, or NATO.

    NATO countries have vowed to continue supporting Ukraine with critical security assistance. US President Joe Biden kicked off the consequential summit by announcing that the alliance would send more air-defense systems to Kyiv.
    US President Joe Biden shakes hands with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg during the NATO 75th anniversary celebratory event at the Andrew Mellon Auditorium on July 9 in Washington, DC.

    At the same time, Russia has regained much of its military strength , and its war-time economy is increasingly firing on all cylinders . The Baltic states say enabling Ukraine to win will require a massive political buy-in and support from the West.

    "Do we want to win this war together with Ukraine, and do we want to see that Russia is not only losing, but they will be downgraded to the level that they will not even think about the new initiatives against their neighbors?" Pevkur said. Or is it to "continue helping Ukraine 'as long as it takes?'"

    "My understanding is that 'as long as it takes' is not enough," Pevkur said. "We have to say clearly: 'Yes, we will help Ukraine to win this war.'"

    Read the original article on Business Insider
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