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Ukraine Races to Build-up Its Military
So, Putin has a total of 100,000 troops in and around the Ukraine border, 50,000 of them are directly a few miles east of the Ukrainian border. Putin has said that he has no intention of invading the Ukraine in a land grab, as the West suspects he might. Any deal that might be reached has two conditions from the West: 1) Leave Crimea and 2) withdraw your troops from the border. Condition 1 will never happen, Condition 2, might happen. Putin claims the troops are there to insure that ethnic Russians are protected.
From what, exactly? Its just an excuse.
Meanwhile, across the border, the Ukrainian army races to rebuild its forces. After 20 years of peace and no real need for a military, the Ukraine needs one now. Back then, it had a 750,000 man army and had the third largest nuclear arsenal. Nobody dared to mess with it. But, today, is a proud yet woefully weak military with no nukes because the West gave assurances they would come to its defense, if needed.
Today's army is 140,000 men, of that, 41,000 are ground troops, but of this, only 6000 are combat ready. Faced with a massive, sudden rebuilding because of the Russian threat, the government has asked for donations of at least 50 cents. Its National Guard has been flooded with 4000 volunteers and basic training has been reduced to only two weeks!
Because Obama has told Putin that the US will not become militarily involved there alone, Putin really is in an ideal poker game. Unless, Obama is bluffing, which is also part of the game. Right now, Russia could blitzkrieg across the Ukraine, seize it all and also grab Moldova to boot. Putin consistently has said the troops there along the border are taking part of exercises yet, none of them are doing much except preparing. Maybe Putin means the Ukrainian exercise to trample it when he decides to.
Since 1994, the Ukrainian military has been starved to death with a lack of funding with almost no spending. While it was bad enough, the last four years, the former Ukrainian president gutted the military to the bone even more. Only the interior forces received money to maintain law and order. When Crimea fell, much of the Ukrainian airforce was also seized. Ditto for its small Navy. Only four fighters out of 25 in Crimea were operational.
Now, the Ukraine is rushing to recruit at least 20,000 men. The new government hoped that NATO would create 15 no-fly zones over their 15 nuclear reactors to provide some same ground if a war broke out. So far, NATO has said no. They also asked for a US Navy guided missile destroyer to visit the area as veil threat to Putin. So, that has not happened. They requested arms from NATO, so far, nothing.
What the army does have is about 800 aging tanks, 208 remaining aircraft. How many of these are operational is unknown, but one could presume a 50% reduction.
If the West wants the Ukraine, they should quit squabbling about it or what to do and provide some help-military advisors, small arms, Instead of sending just a US F-16 squadron to Poland, send a whole wing of F-16s to Poland, maybe land a few in the Ukraine. But doing nothing will only invite Putin more temptation to use the force parked near the border.