Russian manipulations around American aid

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After the long-awaited tranche of US military and financial aid to Ukraine, the Kremlin has intensified a wave of disinformation about Ukrainians’ dissatisfaction with US support, which is actually crucial for Ukrainian defense.

Through pro-Russian bloggers and Internet bots, Moscow began to spread disinformation that Ukraine would receive only a few billion of the $61 billion. And the thesis that our allies are not helping us enough has also begun to spread. For a deeper understanding and refutation of these Russian fakes, it is worth turning to the facts and realities of political and economic practice.

Of course, Ukrainians would like our Western allies to provide us with almost all of their weapons and to take part in the battles against the Russians themselves. But relations between states are more like relations between corporations than between individuals, and charitable, non-repayable aid in international relations is the exception rather than the rule.

Those who appeal to the experience of the American land grant during the Second World War are not interested in historical facts and do not know the specifics of Western aid at that time. The United States did not bombard Britain or the USSR with weapons at that time; it often had to ask for them in addition and even send military heroes to meet with American voters to influence public opinion in the United States. In 1940, Britain gave the United States a 99-year lease on Bermuda and other islands in the Caribbean in exchange for 50 destroyers, as Congress demanded that it refrain from participating in the European war and not give a single cent of American taxpayer money. Ukraine, on the other hand, does not give up its territories to its allies in exchange for military assistance.

Ukrainians should take a pragmatic, emotionless view of Western aid, realizing that without it, the Ukrainian Armed Forces would be guerrilla warriors somewhere on the Right Bank, or Kyiv would be forced to sign a bonded surrender in Istanbul in 2022, which would lead to Ukraine’s transformation into Belarus. We should realize that even without the Western assistance we have, the realities of the war for the Ukrainian home front could have been completely different. Without Western funding for the social part of the budget, Ukraine would have no money to pay pensions, scholarships, and salaries to public sector employees, no repairs to schools and roads, and all the money would go to defense. We could have been without electricity and heat for the third winter, with destroyed power plants, and instead of barbershops, coffee shops, and boutiques with foreign brands, we would have had a shortage of salt and matches.

Many Ukrainians complain that the West does not help us enough, while they themselves brought a package of clothes to refugees in their town once in March 2022 and are planning a trip to the sea. And many people do not have a cognitive dissonance: why should foreign countries help Ukrainians more than Ukrainians help their compatriots? We often do little to help others, but we wonder why they don’t help us enough.

Moscow is trying to sow anti-Western and Eurosceptic sentiment in Ukraine, but without the help we have, our defense would not have survived. With the “betrayal of Western allies” and the fables that “the West deliberately does not help us enough to exterminate Ukrainians and populate our black soil with migrants,” the Kremlin is trying to make Ukrainians bite the hand that helps us, so that in response to such ingratitude, we are truly left alone with the Russian aggressor. Discord among allies is a long-standing war strategy, and the Kremlin has been trying to implement it for three years now. Ukrainians should not succumb to hostile ISIS and help the Russians destroy our allied relations with our partners.

Whatever the Western assistance, we should realize that it is good that it exists at all, because without it, it would be much worse. And there is reason to believe that there will be even more Western assistance, but we need to make efforts for this.

Author: Valeriy Maydanyuk

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