The Ukrainians, if they are to conduct offensive operations to take back their territory, will also need armoured personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles. Like the Russians, they have suffered significant losses to their armoured vehicle fleet over the past five months. Donations of 14 at a time from countries such as Australia is a small help. But the reality is that the Ukrainians need hundreds, and potentially thousands, if they are to successfully eject the Russians.
Counter-autonomy systems to destroy Russian and Iranian drones will be vital. Ukraine needs more of these anti-drone systems to degrade the Russian targeting for artillery, as well as deny them use of suicide drones.
Concurrently, NATO must work on a more standardised equipment set (especially artillery and armoured vehicles). The Ukrainians have some of every type of Western artillery system — this will be an increasing trading and logistic burden. If NATO can agree on a single system, rapidly produce them (and their ammunition), that would assist greatly. It might provide a timely boost for defence industry in the West.
Finally, the West needs to stand by its commitments to support Ukraine. Backsliding on military assistance commitments, or on political support as inflation rises, may be expedient for some. But in the end, it will only assist Putin and embolden other authoritarian regimes who already doubt the commitment of democracies to defend democracy.
In the TV series Band of Brothers, the ninth episode was called Why We Fight. The centrepiece of the episode was American soldiers discovering a small Nazi concentration camp. The message was that despite the sacrifices of the Allies, it had all been worthwhile to destroy a regime capable of such behaviour. The horror of these camps, and desire to avoid the systemic way in which Germany carried out the attempted extermination of Jews and other groups, has shaped European politics since.
The war in Ukraine provides the West with the clearest example since the end of World War II of a war of good versus evil. The appalling, systemic and sickening acts of the Russian army – clearly sanctioned by a Russian government that awarded medals to the unit accused of the atrocities in Bucha – should be a clarion call for nations in the West.
We have a moral obligation to help Ukraine win this war as quickly as possible. If we aren’t willing to do all we can to support Ukraine to defeat Russia and end these large-scale breaches of international law and human decency, what are we willing to defend?