Ukraine: US Armed Support and the Incessant Blood Tribute

In this long period of intense geopolitical and military developments, the situation in Ukraine and international involvement continue to evolve rapidly. However, the cruel and inexorable reality is that people continue to die in Ukraine. The United States, in its relentless support for Ukraine, continues to supply weapons. “The Biden administration is announcing a significant new aid package for Ukraine”White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said at a briefing on Wednesday. This package, worth more than $2.3 billion “includes missiles for Ukrainian air defense systems, ammunition for HIMARS multiple launch missile systems, artillery shells and other urgently needed capabilities”Jean-Pierre specified. In addition, funding is included “which the Department of Defense will use to purchase missiles for the Patriot and NASAMS air defense systems”added the US spokeswoman.

As weapons continue to flow and resources are invested, the inevitable question arises: at what cost? Each new aid package and military development adds to the number of lives lost, families torn apart, and a country ravaged by war. The human cost of this conflict is immense, and the question lingers: how much more will have to be sacrificed? The implications of this support are not just military but also political. According to a Politico analysis, if Donald Trump were to return to the US presidency, he could offer Vladimir Putin a veto on Ukraine’s entry into NATO in exchange for peace. Trump is also said to be willing to negotiate the transfer of Ukrainian territory to Russia to end the conflict, a claim that has been denied by Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov. Turkish President Erdogan, meanwhile, has met with Putin in an attempt to broker peace, but the Kremlin has rejected his role as a mediator.

Looking back at the events in chronological order, on July 2, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán visited Kiev for the first time since the start of the Russian invasion, meeting with Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky. Orbán is the second leader of an EU country to visit Moscow after the outbreak of war in Ukraine, following Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer. During the talks, Orbán suggested that Zelensky declare an immediate ceasefire along the line of contact with the Russian army. “I asked the Ukrainian president to think about whether we can change the agenda, speed up the peace negotiations by first calling for a ceasefire,” Orbán said in a press release. However, Ukraine, through Andriy Yermak, head of the Office of the Ukrainian President, said that Kiev will listen to any advice on how to achieve a “just peace,” but is not ready to compromise fundamental values ​​​​such as independence, freedom, democracy, territorial integrity and sovereignty. The response of the spokeswoman of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, was curt, commenting on Radio Sputnik: “Kiev’s pacifist rhetoric is nothing but a facade, as Ukraine continues to pursue its goal of inflicting a strategic defeat on Russia collectively imposed by the West.” Despite Ukrainian resistance and mixed international reactions, Orbán’s visit to Kiev nevertheless marked an attempt at mediation.

Meanwhile, on July 3, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping met in Astana, Kazakhstan, on the eve of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit. On that occasion, Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov reported: “Putin reiterated the futility of any negotiations to resolve the situation in Ukraine without Russia’s participation.” The next day, Viktor Orbán arrived in Moscow. Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjártó said that “Orbán’s visit to Moscow is a step towards peace. The last two and a half years have shown that this war has no solution on the battlefield. To put an end to people’s suffering, it is necessary to ceasefire and start peace negotiations as soon as possible.” Also on Orbán’s trip, the head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell, wanted to clarify that the Hungarian Prime Minister does not represent the interests of the European Union in Moscow: “Viktor Orban’s visit to Moscow concerns exclusively bilateral relations between Hungary and Russia,” has reported. Eric Mamer, spokesperson for the European Commission, supported this position, saying that Orbán did not coordinate his visit to Russia with the European Commission and that the trip “undermines the unity of the EU”. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen added: “Concessions will not stop Putin” and he stressed that “Only unity and determination will pave the way for a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in Ukraine”It should be recalled that Hungary has held the Presidency of the Council of the European Union since 1 July.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg also commented on Orban’s meeting with Putin, stressing that during negotiations with the Russian leadership, Orban “he represents his country, not NATO.” Stoltenberg added that Orban had informed NATO in advance of his trip and that there would be an opportunity to discuss the details at the summit meeting in Washington next week.

Meanwhile, Ukraine continued to suffer further attacks. On July 4, Vyacheslav Gladkov, governor of the Belgorod region, reported that “Three villages were shelled by the Ukrainian army, causing injuries to three people”. Furthermore, “two Ukrainian UAVs shot down in Bryansk region”. As a result of a Russian missile attack, a Ukrainian MiG-29 fighter was destroyed at the Dolgintsevo airfield. In the Zaporizhia region, two people were killed and another injured in Russian strikes. In all this scenario, the Russian defense has seen a significant increase in the production of military equipment and ammunition. Sergey Chemezov, CEO of the state holding Rostec, said that “Russian Army Received Wide Range of New Military Equipment in 2023”. According to Topwar.ru, the company’s revenue increased by a third compared to 2022, reaching almost 32 billion euros. Artillery production in Russia is three times greater than that of the United States and Europe combined.

China has contributed significantly, providing critical components for weapons production. Meduza – a major independent news platform based in Latvia – highlighted last month that “China’s exports of nitrocellulose to Russia doubled in 2023, a dual-use material needed to produce munitions. In 2022 alone, Beijing exported just over 700 tons of nitrocellulose to Russia, but in 2023 it supplied more than 1,300 tons.” In practice, China accounted for 90% of Russia’s imports of goods that fall under the Group of Seven’s high-priority export control list. According to other sources, Iran is another critical member of the axis challenging NATO, supplying Russia with Shahed munitions used in strike packages alongside hypersonic, cruise and ballistic missiles. By early 2023, nearly 60% of Russian strikes actually included Iranian drones. North Korea is also a key supplier to Russia, having shipped thousands of containers of artillery shells and ballistic missiles since 2023. For decades, DTIB (Russia’s Defense Technological and Industrial Base), like other industries in the country, has depended on foreign supplies for machine tool maintenance. The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace recently reported that “Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, machine tools alone have accounted for nearly 40 percent of China’s annual increase in dual-use exports, even according to China’s dubious official statistics. Additionally, commercially available drones such as China’s DJI quadcopters have performed critical military tasks for Russian combat formations, ranging from intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance (ISTAR) missions.