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Ukraine War: Could It Become a Brutal Stalemate?

F-16 Viper
An Air Force F-16 Viper taxis just a few hundred feet from the wall of fire at the Fort Worth Alliance Air Show, Oct. 28, 2017 at Fort Worth, Texas. (Courtesy photo by Air Force Viper Demo Team)

Kremlin officials on Monday warned that further supplies of Western weaponry to Ukraine would only lead to the escalation of the conflict.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov also said that even as NATO becomes more involved in the conflict, it won’t change the course of events.

“Ukraine demands more and more weapons,” Peskov said in a press briefing. “The West is encouraging these demands, and professes its readiness to provide such weapons. It’s a dead-end situation: it leads to significant escalation, it leads to NATO countries more and more becoming directly involved in the conflict – but it doesn’t have the potential to change the course of events and will not do so.”

Peskov’s comments come as NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg urged South Korea to reconsider its rule on not exporting weapons to countries in conflict.

“I urge the Republic of Korea to continue and to step up the specific issue of military support,” the NATO chief said during a speech to the Chey Institute for Advanced Studies in Seoul. “Several NATO allies who had as a policy never to export weapons to countries in conflict have changed that policy now.”

Stoltenberg noted how Germany, Norway, and NATO applicant Sweden have all changed their arms export policies to aid Ukraine.

“After the brutal invasion of Ukraine, these countries changed their policy because they realized that when you are facing a brutal invasion where a big power – Russia – invades another one in a blatant way as we have seen in Ukraine, if we believe in freedom, if we believe in democracy, if we don’t want autocracy and tyranny to win, then they need weapons,” Stoltenberg added.

Ukraine Calls for More Aid

Even as the United States and Germany announced last week that they would provide main battle tanks (MBTs) and other weapons to aid Ukraine, the government in Kyiv has continued to call for additional aid as it faces renewed Russian attacks on positions across the frontlines in the Eastern Donbas regions, notably near the cities of Bakhmut and Donetsk.

“Russia wants the war to drag on and exhaust our forces So we have to make time our weapon,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his nightly address. “We must speed up events, speed up the supply and opening of new necessary weaponry options for Ukraine.”

His comments came after a missile hit a residential building in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city. At least one person was killed in the attack.

Piecemeal Flow Not Working

On Sunday, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) warned that Western aid – which has been arriving in a piecemeal fashion – would help Ukraine’s defenses, but wouldn’t be enough for Kyiv to truly turn the tide, and it increasingly could result in a stalemate.

“Delays in the provision to Ukraine of Western long-range fires systems, advanced air defense systems, and tanks have limited Ukraine’s ability to take advantage of opportunities for larger counter-offensive operations presented by flaws and failures in Russian military operations,” a report from ISW noted.

“Western discussions of supposed ‘stalemate’ conditions and the difficulty or impossibility of Ukraine regaining significant portions of the territory Russia seized in 2022 insufficiently account for how Western delays in providing necessary military equipment have exacerbated those problems,” ISW’s authors added.

The slow authorization and arrival of aid have been among the factors limiting Ukraine’s ability to launch a continued large-scale counter-offensive. In other words, the aid is helping but the Kremlin could be correct that it won’t be enough to change the outcome.

Simply put, Ukraine needs more weapons and it needs those weapons as soon as possible.

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Author Experience and Expertise: A Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.

Written By

Expert Biography: A Senior Editor for 1945, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,000 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.



  1. H.R. Holm

    January 31, 2023 at 1:02 am

    Let’s do a little calculation here: 14 + 31 + 14 = 59. That’s the total number of tanks three NATO nations recently have officially committed to sending Ukraine Throw in one bonus tank from one of the countries, perhaps, and that makes an even 60. Other NATO countries have tentatively promised a couple here, a couple there, so we can conclude the number is maybe up to 70, for now. 60 to 70 tanks, of three different varieties, each with somewhat varying capabilities, using at least three different types of ammunition, powered by three different engines (one using a jet fuel derivative), requiring a host of differing spare parts, and each with its own integrated operating system. Requiring unique training for each machine’s crews (operational *and* maintenance). That also adds up to a lot of varying requirements overall. Why, what possibly could go wrong in fielding such an eclectic mix? Probably something or other, given from the get-go that standardization is already out the window. And never mind that to date, the Ukraine has been largely already using old Soviet-era tanks, quite different in design and feel from their western counterparts—to say the least. That requires crew retraining to some extent, and that takes time. Now these are also set to dribble in over a period of several months. The Ukrainians probably will want to get each and every one to ‘where the action is’ ASAP, so forget about one heroic mass accumulated formation charging across the fields at the Russians a la the Battle of Kursk. The Russians know they will be coming like this, and will have their own time to prepare. Time to prepare well-hidden anti-tank ambush strong points in the woods along the roads. Time to perhaps lay well-placed mines and disguised roadside bombs a la Iraq and Afghanistan. Time to prepare their attack aircraft pilots with additional tank recognition reinforcement. Time to prepare their own tank crews with new tactics and training. Yes, Pathetic Joe Biden is right in a sense that these will not really be offensive weapons, because in the manner they are set to be provided they will not seriously be *able* to mount a credible offense. The numbers will not be there. They will suffer to some extent being taken out one by one, casualties of an attrition-over-time syndrome that is likely to develop, from a variety of angles previously mentioned. And who knows if at least some of them will even make it to the battlefield, should the Russians switch their tactics and decide to say, launch hunter-killer combat aircraft teams to go after them almost as soon as they arrive within Ukrainian territory and start making their way to ‘the front’. Yes, what could possibly go wrong? Just like, say, that little supposedly brilliant maneuver conceived by someone considered equally as brilliant in WWII as supposedly NATO commanders are thought by some in the media today. That spectacular little thing called ‘Operation Market Garden’. And that turned out so well, didn’t it? Shortened the war by…nothing.

  2. Johnny Ray

    January 31, 2023 at 1:26 pm

    It’s time for Europe to throw open the doors to their munitions warehouses open and send everything including the kitchen sink EAST! The war everyone has prepared for since 1945 has started. Russia declared war on Europe and started it with the attack on Ukraine. They aren’t going to quit because a handful of tanks get in their way. Or, some scolding by quivering Euro leadership.
    Not only should Europe send guns and ammo, they need to, starting today, send troops east to the front and stop hiding behind the NATO Treaty as if it’s some kind of magical shield protecting from seeing what’s going on let alone doing anything about it.
    IF not, then Russia will keep this war up for decades given the chance. Oil revenues will prop them up. Booty from their conquests will motivate them and subjugated people can be conscripted for cannon fodder.
    It’s ON Europe. Wake the fuck up!

  3. Walker

    January 31, 2023 at 6:35 pm

    I do sometimes wonder if Biden’s real plan is to stall the fight and deflate Russia without really giving Ukraine the tools to free themselves from the Russian tentacles. But I also know that we can’t throw too much weapons at one time into the war and too quickly wipe out Russia. If Russia doesn’t slowly engage with the increase in weapons, they may resort to nukes and that would have devastating effects for everyone. So we do need to be cautious on what we give.

    Abrams won’t show up inUkraine for months while we train Ukrainians on how to employ them. It could be a year. And yet, don’t be surprised to see them taking out T-90’s in the next couple months. Russia should be surprised to see them. And they will. And they will see why they are considered the best tank in the world.

    Green light for F-16’s will probably happen around March and again it will take over a year to see battle, so expect to see them in use by June.

    It could become a stalemate, but really, it isn’t in our best interests for that to happen. The sooner we can defeat Russia, the better the whole world will be. But we do need to be careful to raise the water temperature slowly so we don’t get explosive boiling.

    A good spring Offensive by Ukraine that ends in another Kherson or Karkiv like liberation could be all that is needed for Russians to finally have enough of Putin and his lying. Or he could get replaced by someone worse and then we have to hold off a bit more to give Ukraine what they need while the new leader makes the same mistakes as Putin. Only a leader that can admit Russia lost can clear Russia out of their doomed war.

  4. H.R. Holm

    February 2, 2023 at 9:58 pm

    @Johnny Ray Oh, such bravado, again. Like I have told others commenting on this site, if you are so eager that the Russians be fought at whatever cost, why leave it just to others? Pack your bags, whatever you might want to take, and get over across the pond to put your body where your words are. Help lead the way, ultra war-rooter. Lead by example. Join up with those troops you so want sent. Of course, you likely won’t. Even though such macho words regarding this situation mean nothing if they are not matched by genuine macho action. No law stopping you though, I have read of a few who already have gone over. But not many. Better and far easier I suppose to stay safe here at home and cluck the chickenhawk line, and that goes especially for members of Congress and their families. Like weepy pajama-boy Adam Kinzinger, he ran for office initially mainly on his military service, now recently leaving just in time for that likely lucrative cozy-comfortable CNN gig. He was about the biggest war-rooter on Capitor Hill until then, echoing your sentiments almost exactly, at least with the same fervor. With his military experience, how come he has not volunteered? Yes, we see who the chickenhawks are now. Always blowharding about really going in to ‘kick Russian ass and really show ’em’, while of course staying as far above their pet fray as possible. You know, one can still oppose what the Russians have done without shooting off the fiery rhetoric about how NATO needs to more actively involved, and it is not a matter of ‘hiding’ behind the NATO treaty, especially considering that again, *the Ukraine is not a NATO member*. So the treaty does not apply a whit regardless, and NATO needs to constantly remind itself of that. Because if it does not, then sooner or later it is going to do something that lights the fuse to a much bigger powderkeg, one that you and I will end up right in the path of the blast wave from. The ‘let’s you and him fight’ approach here will not end up working in anyone’s interest, least of all the USA’s. It’s time now for diplomacy to reign and provide a critically-needed peaceful solution to this situation. Nothing less will do anyone any good.

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