In the latest escalation of Russia-us crisis, it is reported that the Pentagon and the state Department have developed a joint plan to supply to Ukraine “defensive lethal weapons”. That is a tantalizing prospect for both American and Russian generals, who will have the opportunity to experience each other some of their most modern weapons. But this will increase the number of victims of the conflict in Eastern Ukraine.
The article Wall Street Journal noted that the United States will supply Ukraine with anti-tank missiles “javelin”, and possibly anti-aircraft missiles. As the air war in the East of Ukraine at the moment is not the need of the last small unless Russia go into a full-fledged offensive — unlikely, given the many already lost in terms of opportunity. “Javelin” is another matter. Ukrainians need them for practical reasons.
The new US special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker said that Ukraine is “now more Russian tanks than all of Western Europe put together”. It is possible that the information he received in Kiev, where there is no consensus on the number of tanks, acting under the banners of two of the unrecognized Pro-Russian “people’s republics” — Donetsk and Luhansk. Sometimes the numbers reach 1000, while Russian television once showed a glimpse of a table of the ratio of the military strength of the parties, according to which the rebels were listed for 700 tanks. By the way, the total number of tanks of Germany and France — 949.
Russia has denied the supply of tanks to the separatists, claiming that they produced in battle or found among the remaining from the Soviet times huge weapons caches. However, reality does not seem to be consistent. Stockholm Institute for peace studies (SIEPM), tracking the international supply and sale of arms, and recorded the transfer to the rebels of Russian tanks. There is evidence that in 2015 Russia done this to ensure the conditions for the largest defeat of the Ukrainian army in debaltseve, one of the largest railway junctions of Ukraine.
“Anti-tank systems “javelin” would come in quite handy, — said the Chairman of the Ukrainian Parliament Andrei Parubiy at a press conference in June. — If Debalcevo we managed to burn a few hundred Russian tanks, this would be an important step towards restoring peace in the East of our country.”
In fact, the use of “Javelin” against most tanks of separatists — as well as against most involved in the Eastern part of Ukraine Russian tanks — not more than an attempt to SWAT a fly with a sledgehammer. Russia has much more tanks than any other country — more than 20,000 — and they represent for the most part, consumable material, which is easy to burn, namely, the old model such as introduced in 1973 T-72 and appeared a decade later T-80. Many of them are needed only for formation of a numerical advantage, and no matter how many tanks the enemy is burned, some in any case, be able to break through.
Russia with varying degrees of success, but will use them in local conflicts since the civil war in Chechnya of the 1990s, when the rebels quickly learned to turn them into funeral pyres, before the brief invasion of Georgia in 2008, when the forces of small Transcaucasian country was simply crushed in the rapid progress of the Russian maneuver. Now these ancient technologies relies and the Ukrainian army. Both countries carried out the modernization of T-72, but they managed it only in part.
Still T-72 and T-80 were able to neutralize with the help of Soviet weapons available to Ukrainian forces and Pro-Russian separatists. ATGM “javelin”, adopted by the us army in the mid 1990-ies, intended to undermine the best of the existing Russian T-90 tanks, are equipped with a modern dynamic protection “Relic” (a type of protection in which the armor is coated with a thin layer of an explosive). “Javelin” to cope with such systems more effective than most existing anti-tank missiles.
However, no one case of defeat T-90 “Javelin” were recorded. Last year, Syrian rebels have hit at least modern us missile BGM-71 TOW-2A for T-90, equipped with a system of integrated dynamic protection “Contact-5”, and he left almost intact. “Javelin” would be destroyed, but it is unknown what turned out to be the case with more modern tank protection.
Russia claims that the newest tanks T-14 on universal combat platform “Armata” will be able to stand against any anti-tank weapons of the Alliance: their defense systems are superior to even the “Relic”. But the “Armata” has not yet passed all the tests.
Russia considers the recent and current conflicts as a testing ground for their weapons. President Vladimir Putin said that the participation in the Syrian war was more rational from the point of view of the use of budget for training and combat training than the teachings themselves: “only in combat, what was used, it was possible to truly test, to identify problems and resolve them.” And he will clearly be tempted to test against the “Javelin” to the previous one, and, perhaps, a new generation of Russian tanks.
American generals are also probably interested in this kind of testing — after all, the US needs to find the most effective means of protection against modern Russian tanks.
Although the group of citizen journalists of Bellingcat, which monitors all aspects of Russian interference in the situation in the East of Ukraine, discovered in the conflict zone, T-90 tanks, combat actions were conducted using mostly Soviet weapons. It would however be reasonable to expect that the appearance on the scene of weapons from the United States in the hands of the rebels will get even more advanced technology. But that will only make the war that has already claimed 10,000 lives, even fiercer.
After over two years, the parties tried to abide by the demarcation lines (except for minor interventions), supply Ukraine with lethal weapons impractical from a military point of view, if only the United States does not seek to contribute her efforts to return in the structure of “people’s Republic”. It would be a mistake. Although Russia does not have the resources to capture and hold the Ukraine, while continuing to exercise caution in relation to other military threats, money, firepower and determination to protect the separatist entities of her abound. Rejecting them would mean the destruction of the aura of invincibility of Putin and put him in a vulnerable position both in Russia and abroad.
It is highly likely, however, that the strengthening of confrontation the United States will push domestic political reasons — the same that prompted the Vice President of the United States Mike Pence to go to Estonia, Georgia and Montenegro with the aim of assurances from these countries of American support, and those that are pushing President trump to sign the bill on sanctions against Russia. However, in contrast to the aforesaid action, the arming of Ukraine with high probability will lead to more bloodshed.