Russia is So Weak That Missile Boats for Ukraine Would Stop Them

The US has begun supplying some missiles to Ukraine. The US could supply a dozen PT boats with missiles and drive the cost to Russia of military escalation in Ukraine beyond any reasonable benefit. Russia’s military and economy today is obviously far weaker than it controlled Eastern Europe with the Soviet Union. The US previously provided a moderate level of arms for Afghanistan to increase the cost of the war for the Soviets. This was dramatized in the movie Charlie Wilson’s war.

Ukraine is expanding its economic and technology connections with China and China’s interests and involvement could also prevent military escalation.

Interestingly there was the simultaneous release of several thinktank analysis of the adequacy of Ukraine’s 250,000 volunteer army and the paper tiger nature of Russia’s military.

Russia has about 1 million active military personnel but Strategy Page claims that Russia has only 100,000 or so in actually effective units in special operations and airborne units. Russia has a lot of unmotivated and poorly trained one year draftees. The poorly trained aspect is the main issue that has not been commonly discussed until recently. Russia’s economic problems, oil and gas-dependent economy, badly aging and shrinking population and lack of money for military modernization are more well known.

The poor training problem combined with military equipment and cash issues means that Russia’s military is 2 to 5 times less than the statistics of a 1 million man army with 2 million in reserve would suggest.

Russia still has thousands of tanks and planes. There are claims that Russia’s tank quality is below NATO and below China. It is still enough to overwhelm Ukraine in an all-out war.

The Atlantic Council claims that in the five years of the Ukraine-Russia war that Ukraine has put together a cohesive 250,000 volunteer army.

Ukraine estimates that they would be forced to retreat and would lose 15,000 men in the first three weeks of an all-out attack from Russia. Russia has taken control of the Black Sea and seized Ukrainian ships.

The Atlantic Council indicates that providing six to twelve Mark V PT boats with 100 Hellfire missiles and 100 Harpoon anti-ship missiles would be enough to put Russia’s larger naval ships and planes at risk. It would make any attack costly in equipment and more costly in men.

Future of Ukraine Technology, Economy and Geopolitics

Ukraine contained key military factories of the Soviet military. They have precision weapons, missile guidance systems, radars, and electronics. Ukraine’s ground forces now have some tanks and armored vehicles and will be getting air defense and planes. Ukraine has modernized or developed short and medium-range anti-aircraft systems, a tactical ballistic missile, and a multiple-use cruise missile. Serial production of these weapons is ramping up now but they do not have the money for a lot.

Ukraine is selling its know-how and rocket manufacturing capabilities in deals with South Korea, Canada and China.

China Could Force Peace or Non-Escalation Between Russia and Ukraine is expanding economic and technological ties with Ukraine and also buying more oil and gas and technology from Russia. It is in China’s interest that Ukraine and Russia bid and negotiate separately to provide technology and trade. China would want to see an escalation in the conflict which would disrupt ports and rail.

Ukraine and China could collaborate and capture even more military sales from Russia. Russia has about 10% of world arm’s exports. Ukraine is helping China with critical missiles and jet engine technology. Ukraine and China are working to make more of the largest cargo plane in the world.

China is making Ukraine part of the Belt and Road plan. They have trade of about $8 billion now. Ukraine hosted the third Silk Road Forum in November 2018 for talks to increase bilateral trade with China over the next five years to $20 billion per year.

The Ukrainian Bank for Reconstruction and Development was purchased by China’s Bohai Commodity Exchange. They are making a joint e-commerce platform (Silk Link) aimed at increasing Ukraine’s exports to China.

China will invest $7 billion for major Ukrainian infrastructure projects. China has dredged the Yuzhny port and ports in Odessa, Chornomorsk, and Izmail will likely follow. China will work coastal highways and roads built to withstand the burden of heavy, grain-laden trucks, others are investing in new grain silos and port elevators to help with transportation logistics.

Ukraine has free trade with the EU and Canada. China can develop factories, warehouses and ports in Ukraine for more exports into the EU and Canada.

RAND has a 354-page analysis of actions that the US could take to stress Russia.

All Trends Are for Declining Russian Power

All trends are for declining Russian Power. Poland, Ukraine and Baltic States seem like they will do better economically and all are increasing their military capability. Russia has an aging and shrinking population with less rural population and a net level of people leaving the country. “>This will cause demographic challenges for its military ambitions.

The US is and will dominate oil and gas. Oil and gas prices will be kept at lower levels.

SOURCES : Rand, Atlantic Council,, Lima Charlie News, Strategy Page
Written By Brian Wang.

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