NATO’s Plan B in Ukraine: All-Out War with Russia?
The United Kingdom’s new Defence Minister Grant Shapps told the Telegraph (Sept. 30) that he had held talks with Army leaders about moving “more training and production” of military equipment into Ukraine, while calling on British defense firms to set up production there. He also revealed that, during his visit to Kyiv on Sept. 27, he had talked to Volodymyr Zelenskyy about how Britain’s Royal Navy could play a role in defending commercial vessels from Russian attacks in the Black Sea.
Deputy Chairman of the Russian Security Council, Dmitry Medvedev, and others have pointed out that this would make the British citizens and equipment involved “legal targets” of Russian attacks. From there, what could prevent an all-out, official war between NATO and Russia? That is likely what led British Prime Minister Sunak to clarify that such moves might happen “one day in the future”, but not now.
Clearly, the undeniable failure of the Ukrainian military, armed and supported by NATO, to make any significant progress against the Russians, added to the growing resistance in the United States and Europe to financing a war that cannot be won, and that is destroying Ukraine and its population (cf. below), is increasing the desperation in the West.
As a result, there has been a marked increase in direct attacks against Crimea and other targets on Russian territory, which may serve to expedite a decision by the Biden Administration to send the ATACMS systems to Ukraine, followed by that of the Scholz government in Berlin to provide Taurus long-range cruise missiles. This is what Russian specialist Gilbert Doctorow has called Washington’s Plan B. It would almost certainly entail having American and German military personnel on the ground, at the very least to handle the hardware.
Meanwhile, the good news is pouring in for the defense industry. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced Sept. 28 from Kyiv that NATO now has framework contracts in place for production of €2.4 billion worth of key ammunition. Then, on Sept. 29, an international defense industry conference was held in Kyiv as part of the government’s effort to beef up weapons production within the country. President Zelenskyy claimed that some 250 defense companies from more than 30 countries were present, alongside defense ministers and representatives of several countries.
In a video hookup, Stoltenberg confirmed that many allies have significantly depleted their stocks in order to support Ukraine, so “now we need to ramp up production”. According to the Ukrainians, a number of the companies should soon set up factories there. It was reported separately by Defense News that German defense contractor Rheinmetall plans to operate a plant in Ukraine, initially to ensure the maintenance and repair of weapons and vehicles donated by Germany.
Here again, any facilities set up by foreign companies to produce war materials will become targets for Russian missile and drone strikes. But the extra weapons and ammunition will not shift the course of the war in Ukraine’s favor any more than the previous quantities have. But they will escalate the danger of a nuclear war between NATO and Russia, which no one can win.