On 8-10 September, 2022, two important visits took place to Kiev, the capital of Ukraine. Prior to these confidential contacts, no information on the subject was given. The first of these visits was organized by the United States (US) Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, on 8 September 2022. Blinken, who reached Kiev by taking an 11-hour train journey, met with senior Ukrainian officials, especially Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba.
The US Secretary of State’s visit to Ukraine followed the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) calls to establish a security zone around the conflict-damaged and Russian-controlled ZaporizhzhiaNuclear Power Plant. One week before the visit, that is, on September 1, 2022, a group of IAEA experts visited the station in question.
It has been stated that Blinken aims to support Ukraine with this visit. The US, including the other 18 members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), has announced that it will provide a total of $2 billion in long-term military aid to Ukraine. The aid reveals that it will exceed the $675 million package of heavy weapons, ammunition and armored vehicles mentioned by US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.i It was previously learned that Washington will send additional shells for the light multiple rocket launcher system HIMARS to Ukraine.ii As is known, comments are made that HIMARS has the potential to change the course of conflicts.iii
On September 8, 2022, when Blinken visited Kiev, the NATO Summit began at the Ramstein Air Base in Germany. At the meeting in Germany, Austin announced an aid package worth $675 million dollars for Ukraine. Even after this statement, Ukraine launched a large-scale attack near Kharkov. In addition, the Commander of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, General Valery Zaluzhny, has published an article on how they can defeat Russia with the support of the USA.iv Ukraine’s offense against Russia in the Kharkov and Kherson regions was appreciated by the USA and NATO, and it was stated that more assistance would be provided to the Kiev administration.v In other words, Ukraine’s success in the conflict area has influenced the decisions of NATO countries to help.
Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov stated that at least six new Ukrainian Army brigades, mainly mechanized, tank and airborne troops, will begin training in Poland and other European countries in the future. At the same time, he said that a “three-level air defense system” will be built with the help of Western countries, and that NATO will arm Ukraine continuously and consistently.vi
Two days after the NATO Summit, German Foreign Minister Annalena Burbock, who, like Blinken, secretly went to Kiev by train, only met with her counterpart Kuleba. Burbock said that with the visit in question, they aimed to show that the Ukrainian authorities can continue to trust Germany. In addition to this, Burbock stated that they will “continue to provide humanitarian, financial and military assistance to Ukraine if necessary.” Moreover, it was learned that Burbock promised support in the meeting to help with mine clearance and combat war crimes committed.vii
During the meeting, Kuleba once again raised the issue of the delivery of German Leopard-2 tanks to Kiev, but Burbock refrained from responding to this. It is known that Germany has been supplying Kiev with heavy weapons for a long time, and it is stated that it will soon supply ten Gepard air defense systems.viii However, on September 6, 2022, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said that none of the NATO allies had supplied modern tanks to Ukraine, so it is not surprising that Germany is acting with a similar approach.ix
Within the scope of the program launched, against the attitude of Germany, England announced that it would take part in the training of 30 thousand military personnel attached to the Ukrainian Armed Forces. The statement in question reveals that the attitudes of Germany and England on Ukraine are different.
The fact that Ukraine has achieved a certain success in its ground operations against Russia has been influential in Kiev’s receiving serious support from NATO countries, especially the USA. The USA and England do not want Ukraine to be defeated in its ongoing war with Russia, and therefore are trying to give serious support to Ukraine. However, each of the states in question, which have similar approaches, at the same time continues to implement its own policy and give priority to its own interests.
When the Russian-Ukrainian War ends, the UK aspires to be effective in the Black Sea region and Eastern Europe. The USA, on the other hand, does not make such a limitation as it is already effective in the whole of Europe. Germany, on the other hand, sees Eastern Europe as its sphere of influence. The Berlin administration is trying to implement its policy in Eastern Europe by also taking Russia into account. At this point, UK’s difference from Germany is that it pursues an “anti-Russian” policy that requires completely taking sides with Ukraine.
Unlike the USA and the UK, another reason for Germany’s insistence on not supplying weapons to Ukraine is related to Russia’s energy resources. Because the fact that the Moscow administration has cut off the natural gas exported to Europe resulted in an increase in energy prices in Germany.
Berlin’s policy of military support towards Ukraine can be read in two ways: First of all, Germany is sending a message to Moscow by not providing the weapons demanded by Kiev, and it expects Russia to take a step back on energy. Secondly, the visit of the Foreign Minister of Germany to Kiev is again a message to Russia, indicating that if Kremlin does not change its energy policy, offensive weapons can be supplied to Ukraine.
The gains that Ukraine has made in some regions and the relative failure of Russia have both excited and mobilized the NATO member states as well as the Kiev government. It has also caused a rivalry between the countries. As a matter of fact, being on the side of a Ukraine running to victory will give the impression of a successful foreign policy. The countries in question will use this both in their domestic public opinion and when the Russian-Ukrainian War comes to an end, they will rise to the position of country that has a say in the region.
The energy crisis in Europe is leading to criticism of the authorities. Highlighting the victory of the Ukrainian Army over Russia will serve as a defense against those who criticize the governments of the countries that support Kiev. Because the cause of the energy crisis in Europe is the Russia-Ukraine War. The prolongation of the conflict in question is also seen as supporting Ukraine and confronting Russia. In this context, the success of Ukraine will allow the criticisms in question to be pushed into the background.
Despite all this, the answer to the question of whether Germany will provide arms assistance to Ukraine remains unclear. However, it should be emphasized that it is obvious that the Berlin administration does not ignore the scenarios in which weapons aid to Ukraine will provide them with political gains.
As a result, Ukraine is trying to determine a new war strategy. For this, it needs the support of NATO member states. Most of the NATO member actors are ready to provide such support. This also encourages other countries as well. It is still unclear how successful the offensive movement initiated by Ukraine will be. However, offensive movements may trigger the other side to launch a similar attack. Therefore, Russia’s war capacity and tactical calculations will determine this. If the offensive of the Ukrainian Army continues and Russia cannot resist it, it will become clear that the power of the Moscow administration has decreased. In such a picture, it can be predicted that Western countries, enjoying the victory, will increase their arms aid to Ukraine.
i “Байден одобрил выделение Украине $675 млн военной помощи”, Kommersant, https://www.kommersant.ru/doc/5549036, (Date of Accession: 12.09.2022).
ii “Ukraine live briefing: Putin claims Russia has ‘lost nothing’ in Ukraine; Kyiv reports gains in the North”, The Washington Post, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/09/07/russia-ukraine-war-latest-updates/, (Date of Accession: 12.09.2022).
iii ““Каждая попытка уничтожить HIMARS будет стоить России дорого”. Украинский эксперт объясняет, как новое оружие влияет на события на фронте”, Nastoyaşaya Vremya, https://www.currenttime.tv/a/ukrainskiy-ekspert-obyasnyaet-kak-novoe-oruzhie-vliyaet-na-sobytiya-na-fronte/31949159.html, (Date of Accession: 12.09.2022).
iv “Статья Залужного о ситуации на фронте: военный аналитик отметил важнейшие моменты”, 24 Kanal, https://24tv.ua/ru/zaluzhnyj-napisal-statju-o-situacii-fronte-samye-vazhnye-momenty_n2153038, (Date of Accession: 12.09.2022).
v “Главный генерал США назвал наступление ВСУ на Херсон “тщательно продуманным и эффективным”, Liga- Novini, https://news.liga.net/politics/news/glavnyy-general-ssha-nazval-nastuplenie-vsu-na-herson-tschatelno-produmannym-i-effektivnym, (Date of Accession: 12.09.2022).
vi “Алексей Резников о “Рамштайне”: вооружать Украину будут долго и тщательно”, BBC News, https://www.bbc.com/russian/news-62862465, (Date of Accession: 12.09.2022).
vii “DPA: глава МИД ФРГ прибыла в Киев во второй раз после начала спецоперации РФ на Украине”, Tass, https://tass.ru/mezhdunarodnaya-panorama/15712595?utm_source=google.com&utm_medium=organic&utm_campaign=google.com&utm_referrer=google.com, (Date of Accession: 12.09.2022).
viii “Германия поможет Украине с разминированием”, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, https://www.ng.ru/world/2022-09-11/5_8536_germany.html, (Date of Accession: 12.09.2022).
ix “Шольц блокирует поставку в Украину 100 современных немецких танков — Welt”, Hromadske, https://hromadske.ua/ru/posts/sholc-blokiruet-postavku-v-ukrainu-100-sovremennyh-nemeckih-tankov-welt, (Date of Accession: 12.09.2022).