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Ukraine update: Delivering a weapons system is just step one

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16.06.2022

On Thursday, the leaders of France, Germany, Italy, and Romania paid a joint visit to Ukrainian Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv. As with other meetings, the presence of foreign leaders in Kyiv emphasizes something very important: Russia lost its effort to secure the Ukrainian capital, and is still unable to control access to Zelenskyy and the Ukrainian government. Every one of these meetings is a validation of the existing government, an enduring visual pledge to support Ukraine in its fight—and a giant middle finger to Putin.

It was also proof that until this war is over, Zelenskyy is never going to be able to change his shirt. The contrast between Zelenskyy in his military olive-drab tee and other leaders in their business attire never ceases to be a good reminder that in Ukraine, everything is not business as usual. Getting someone back into an uncomfortable suit doesn’t seem like much of a goal, but in this case, seeing Zelenskyy adjust a tie will be a very good signal that this war is well and truly done.

These occasions also call for the usual measured response from the Russian government.

Russia government official pic.twitter.com/3UVr3Havcu

The clock really is ticking. Except for the one deciding whether Dmitry Medvedev has any political future. That one wound down long ago.

This gathering of leaders in Kyiv followed a day after a meeting in which NATO countries gathered in Brussels to announce additional support to Ukraine in its fight against an illegal, unprovoked invasion by Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Kos detailed the weapon systems included in this latest round of announcements, including a new $1B commitment from the United States, and discussed why what was pledged on Wednesday is far more valuable to Ukraine than the wild demands floating around in the media.

What’s important now is integrating these weapon systems into the Ukrainian military, keeping them supplied with ammunition and spare parts, and making sure enough soldiers on the ground have the training necessary to effectively utilize the weapons. Because we’ve already seen examples of weapons, weapons that were thought to be vital to Ukrainian efforts, sitting idle because they weren’t adequately integrated into Ukrainian tactics.

A good example of how training and experience is required to make a system effective is connected to a device that many people, myself included, expected to play a critical role in allowing Ukrainian troops to strike back against Russian artillery and other forces operating at a distance: the Switchblade loitering munition.

Way back on April 6, I excitedly wrote about the Switchblade 300 and 600 series drones as something that could fit into a gap between weapons like Stinger or Javelin missiles, and larger drones like Turkey’s Bayraktar. Meanwhile, there were voices on the right so concerned about the U.S. sending these “kamikaze drones” to Ukraine that they were convinced Putin would use this as an excuse to up the nuclear threat. Switchblades were seen as a very big deal.

However, I ended that discussion of the new loitering munition on its way to Ukraine this way: “Both the Switchblade 300 and 600 have their potential targets. How this type of weapon will work out in Ukraine isn’t clear...”

That turns out to have been much more prescient that all my details on........

© Daily Kos


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