Ukraine Is Set to Make Lobby Push in US for More Weapons and Training

by | Nov 1, 2023

Ukraine Is Set to Make Lobby Push in US for More Weapons and Training

by | Nov 1, 2023

gimme! gimme! gimme! zelensky speaks to congress

Ukraine and some European countries are ramping up a lobbying push in the US to get Americans to back more aid to Kiev. Ukrainian officials are seeking new long-range rockets and accelerated training programs. The propaganda push comes after a Time magazine article portrayed Kiev in disarray and a hotbed for corruption. 

According to Politico, “Ukrainian officials and allies in Europe are ramping up their lobbying campaign in the US for new weapons and training.” The authors cite a recent Ukrainian delegation that toured America with a wishlist that included: “US Marine Corps training on conducting ship-to-shore operations; new air defenses to take down the Russian glide bombs that are devastating Ukrainian forces; and the long-range, single-warhead version of the Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) the Biden administration secretly shipped to Ukraine last month.”

The representatives of the Ukrainian government are attempting to adapt their message to the current American political landscape. Roman Tychkivskyy, a former Ukrainian marine and current defense official, compared Russians to Hamas.

The White House is attempting to package support for the proxy war against Russia, Israel’s onslaught in Gaza, and the massive military buildup in the Asia Pacific into a massive $105 billion aid bill. 

Tychkivskyy went on to dub Russia, North Korea, and Iran an “axis of evil.” Newly elected House Speaker Mike Johnson recently referred to Russia, China, and Iran as the new “axis of evil.” However, Representative Johnson is vowing to package aid for Israel in a stand-alone bill, a blow to Kiev that was hoping to get the bulk of the $105 billion aid bill. 

Politico additionally reports a European delegation will visit the US to lobby Americans, they will argue that spending billions of dollars on arming Ukraine will create jobs at home. William D. Hartung, senior research fellow at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, says the notion that weapons spending creates jobs is a myth. 

“There are many ways to create more and better jobs without resorting to increased weapons spending,” he explained. “Virtually any other form of government outlay, or even a tax cut, yields greater employment than military spending.”

One item on Kiev’s wishlist is long-range ATACMS rockets with conventional warheads. The White House recently approved sending Ukraine the cluster variant of the missile. The Department of Defense is reluctant to send the unitary warhead because the US lacks surpluses in its stockpiles. However, Washington no longer uses the cluster variant of the weapon. 

Additionally, Kiev is seeking to accelerate the F-16 training program for Ukrainian pilots. The soldiers began training on the advanced aircraft this week. The Pentagon said the pilots will take several months to complete the program and did not provide a clear timeline. 

An article published by Time earlier this week portrayed Kiev as a dysfunctional government with the Ukrainian military in disarray. A close aide to President Zelensky said that the leader had become dogmatic in his view that Kiev could reconquer all of Ukraine by military force even as failures mounted. 

Ukrainian forces reported receiving orders that they lacked the military capabilities to complete. If the West comes through on weapons deliveries, “we don’t have the men to use them,” a Ukrainian official explained

Still, Tychkivskyy is pushing for training on maneuvers to cross the Dnieper River. Kiev believes a successful operation can be used to set up a campaign to retake Crimea. “Once we are able to cross the river successfully and move the troops to the other side, there’s not many obstacles for us to move fast, closer to Crimea,” he said.

Kyle Anzalone

Kyle Anzalone

Kyle Anzalone is news editor of the Libertarian Institute, opinion editor of Antiwar.com and co-host of Conflicts of Interest with Will Porter and Connor Freeman.

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