The West must put itself on a ‘war-footing’ and support Ukraine for ‘as long as it takes’

Edgars Rinkēvičs, Latvia’s foreign minister, added that it needed to step up tank and weapon production to meet the threat from Russia

EUROPE EDITOR ; ASIA CORRESPONDENT, IN KYIV and 11 June 2022 • 6:10pm

The West must adopt a “war-footing” and arm Ukraine properly to defeat Russia, Latvia said on Saturday as Ukrainian officials warned that Vladimir Putin’s army could still win his war.

In separate interviews with The Telegraph, Edgars Rinkēvičs, Latvia’s foreign minister, warned that the West needed to support Ukraine “for as long as it takes” and Mykhailo Podolyak, a Ukrainian presidential adviser, said that the army needed more heavy weapons.

Mr Rinkēvičs said that Eastern European countries had now largely run out of Soviet-era tanks and weapons to send to Kyiv and that Western Europe needed to step up production to meet the threat from Russia.

“The EU and Nato need what I call strategic endurance,” he said. “Unfortunately, like it or not, because of Russia, we are back in a situation where the military defence is a priority for Europe and for Nato.”

Mr Rinkēvičs, who praised UK support for Ukraine, said that some countries had “psychological difficulties” in taking a tough line on Moscow but that a “war-footing” towards weapons production was the necessary approach to bring peace.

“Russia will be talking only when there are two elements. Number one, when they understand that the military advance has been stopped and secondly when they will be pushed back by Ukrainian forces,” he said.

Despite repelling the Russian army from the gates of Kyiv in March, Ukrainian officials have said that Russia could still triumph in Donbas where it has concentrated its firepower. Analysts have said that Russia can outgun Ukraine by 20 to 1 in artillery duels.

Ukrainian soldier
The West has been urged to take a ‘war-footing’ towards weapons production to help Ukrainian soldiers meet the threat from RussiaCREDIT: SERGEY BOBOK/AFP

In Kyiv, Mr Podolyak, the Ukrainian presidential adviser, said the Ukrainian army was “fighting a tank with a pistol” because of European prevarication over military support.

“Approximately 90 per cent of casualties on the battlefield are caused by artillery fire,” he said in an interview. “Our men will die until the point that our European partners provide the weapons we need and when they stop actually asking us to meet Putin halfway and not to humiliate the Russians.”

Mr Podolyak praised Boris Johnson for being one of the few political leaders in Europe “ready to take responsibility” for backing Ukraine with more weapons.

But he said that the scale of the battle and the length of the front required vastly more military capabilities.

“In terms of rocket launchers, we don’t need three or four of them, but around 300,” he said.

Britain promised this week to send its first long-range missiles to Ukraine, after a pledge from the United States for four of its M142 high mobility artillery rocket systems. The UK’s M270 missile systems can fire 12 rockets in 40 seconds with pinpoint accuracy up to a range of 50 miles. The exact number has not been specified but it is thought to be three.

The warning of the growing risk of a Russian victory was echoed by Lesia Vasylenko, a Ukrainian MP, who referenced Russia’s land grabs in Crimea and Donbas eight years ago.

She said on Twitter:

The world needs a quick victory over aggression. This can be secured only through supplying more artillery weapons to #Ukraine. #russia still has more of everything. At this rate aggression has a chance to win again. Just like in 2014-15.

And at a high-level global security conference in Singapore, Lloyd Austin, the US Secretary of Defence, also said that Ukraine and the West had to remain united if they wanted to defeat Russia.

“So we understand what we can lose. We see the dangers of disorder,” he said. “Let’s use this moment to come together in common purpose.”

Emmanuel Macron, the French president, was recently criticised for warning against humiliating Russia. He has kept channels of communication with Mr Putin open and claimed Paris could be a mediating power to bring about peace.

It is an approach that has irritated the former Soviet Baltic states, where many families have direct experience of suffering under Moscow’s rule.

Writing in The Telegraph, Kaja Kallas, Estonia’s prime minister, described calls for a ceasefire as “premature”.

“What Ukraine needs today are arms to fight back the aggressor and liberate their country,” she said.

4 comments

  1. Comment from Robert Bray:
    “Either Nato joins this war with boots on the ground and air defence or Russia will win this war. The NATO Generals need to have a strategy as it really seems at present their strategy is supply a few arms and watch. Then Oops the Ukrainians have lost the war. Oh dear! What went wrong. Now what do we do? Putin will be knocking on the doors of Eastern Europe.”

    Comment from SCOTT DRIVER:
    “99% of Ukrainians DON’T support the Russian invasion of Ukraine despite what some posters here are writing. Putin/Russians had counted on Russian speaking Ukrainians, primarily in the East and South of the country, to help overthrow Zelenky and the Ukrainian military….which DIDN’T happen.
    What’s happened instead is that Putin’s invading and destroying Ukrainian cities, killing and injuring civilians as well as military, torturing and kidnaping over 1 million Ukrainians, and generally attempting to wipe Ukrainian culture off the map, they’ve alienated 99% of Ukrainians including my Russian speaking wife who USED to feel some connection to Russia.
    No more…Russians are now hated universally in Ukraine.”

    Comment from John Morgan:

    “The Telegraph should put it’s voice behind this article as should the British press.
    We have been too timid for too long as a country and time is of the essence.
    If Ukraine is to win this war , and it is an imperative that is does, then our armament industries need to be put on a war footing yesterday.
    Comments don’t win wars, weapons do.”

    Liked by 3 people

  2. The whole of Europe could send it’s weapons to Ukraine, because they certainly don’t need them for anything. Apart from Poland and the Baltics, the rest are already waiting with white flags in hand.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. The Baltics States have been right all along about mafia land, yet the large majority of the rest of Europe was too arrogant and naive to listen. Instead of FINALLY waking up NOW, it is still too slow and weak and dumb to act accordingly. This is one calculation by Putin that was spot on. THREE rocket launchers! That’s just got to be a very bad joke!!! So, the UK will keep the rest and for what? They are completely useless as they sit wherever they are sitting and just getting old. As sad as this is, this is still the one nation who has done more than any other in Europe! The other three large European countries are deplorably stupid when it comes to showing SOME courage to help Ukraine!

    Liked by 3 people

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