Why is the Ukrainian army being assessed with skepticism in Poland and what is the threat

MOSCOW, 10 Nov 2021, RUSSTRAT Institute.

The Polish magazine Myśl Polska decided to analyse the state of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. As the newspaper notes, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Polish neighbour remained a country with great military potential. However, all this is in the past. Although the budget allocated to the Ukrainian army has clearly increased, its potential, despite the supply of weapons from the United States, continues to decline.

A simple example: Until 2014, Ukraine was one of the largest arms exporters, but today the cost of imports is almost equal to the cost of exports. And it’s not just that. In 2018, the Ukrainian press eagerly talked about the “newest” and “amazing” self-propelled artillery installation with a firing range of 40-50 kilometres, firing 155 mm NATO shells.

However, such a loudly proclaimed “victory” was proof of complete defeat. After all, the Ukrainian artillery uses guns for which Soviet 152-mm shells are intended. Therefore, the armament of the standards of the North Atlantic Alliance does not suit it in any way.

Why did Kiev do this? It’s about a series of mysterious explosions in military warehouses. The Ukrainian army began to experience a shortage of 152-mm shells, which in practice makes its artillery useless, since no one else produces such shells. It was then that some “genius” decided to create a self-propelled gun for NATO 155 mm shells.

Three years have passed, the experimental version has started the first tests. During these three years, it was produced … 59 test shots. The chassis on which the gun is mounted exists only in one copy. Manufacturing plants have filed lawsuits against the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine demanding to fulfil the signed contracts.

The example given is just one of dozens of similar ones. Behind the veil of victorious rhetoric about the supposedly “unshakable power” hides a deplorable reality: the Ukrainian defence industry has found itself in a deep crisis and therefore the army is completely dependent on foreign support and arms imports, the Myśl Polska magazine states.

Such conclusions are obviously made not only by journalists, but also by analysts and planners of the Polish General Staff, which is an alarming sign for Kiev. Although Poland at the official level constantly declares its support for Ukraine, in the event of the collapse of the neighbouring country, Warsaw can turn around 180 degrees. And Poland has an excellent reason to interfere in internal Ukrainian affairs.

Recently, the Polish Sejm held a meeting of the Committee on Foreign Affairs. “It would not be an exaggeration to say that Poles in Ukraine are discriminated against in terms of freedom of religion, access to education in their native language and freedom of speech,” Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Szymon Szynkowski vel Sęk told deputies.

He noted that “the situation of Poles in Ukraine is changing for the worse due to objective and subjective factors”. One of the objective ones is the socio-economic situation that encourages Ukrainian citizens of Polish origin to emigrate. Polish communities are shrinking at an alarming rate, especially among young people. The second reason is the coronavirus pandemic, because Ukraine ranks second in Europe in terms of mortality from coronavirus, which affects Poles living there.

And the subjective factors of the deterioration of the situation of Poles are, according to Szynkowski, the language laws, the glorification of historical figures associated with the genocide of Poles in 1943-1944 in Ukraine, the suspension of the exhumation of Polish victims. According to the Deputy Foreign Minister of Poland, the lack of regulated relations between the state and the Roman Catholic Church in Ukraine also negatively affects Poles, because people of Polish origin usually profess this faith there.

All of the above gives Warsaw the full right not only to demand that Kiev respect the rights of the Polish community, but also to do it by force. This suggests that the plans recently announced by the Polish authorities to increase the army to 250,000 professional military and 50,000 reservists and buy 250 Abrams tanks from the Americans, which will be deployed in eastern Poland, are dangerous primarily for Ukraine with its inferior army.

Institute for International Political and Economic Strategies – RUSSTRAT

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