Building Deterrence: Order for Ukraine in Ukraine

The only way to prevent Russia from ever attacking its western front again.

Shankar Narayan
7 min readMay 19, 2024

As a vocal critic of American policy towards Ukraine, I believe it is my responsibility to highlight and scrutinize U.S. actions, especially when they have the potential to positively impact the future of the entire world.

Most of the aid money that America allocates for Ukraine ultimately benefits its own manufacturing companies. When a billion-dollar aid package is announced, orders are placed with American weapons manufacturers. The administration releases weapons from its warehouses for Ukraine, while the U.S. Army receives new weapons. This process stimulates domestic supply lines to support new weapons production.

The United States replenishes its stock.

Let us take the case of ATACMS missiles for example. In early 2024, it was reported that there were thousands of ATACMS missiles that were nearing their expiry date. The United States has to spend money in order to dispose them. The United States can send those old missiles to Ukraine, place an order with the manufacturer, send the new weapons to the US army and tell the world that they have offered XX millions of dollars in assistance in Ukraine.

The entire ATACMS supply chain in the United States will be revitalised. Ukraine gets the best weapons to fight. The US army disposes of its old ones and replaces it with new ones.

In a lot of ways this is also a capacity investment.

Consider the production of artillery shells in the United States as the next example. The U.S. has supplied Ukraine with nearly 200 units of 155mm Howitzers and close to 3 million 155mm artillery shells. At the beginning of the war, the U.S. was manufacturing 14,000 shells per month in 2022. This number increased to 28,000 shells per month early this year, with a target of reaching 70,000 to 80,000 shells per month by the end of the year.

This war has undoubtedly demonstrated the crucial role of artillery in ground wars. The shell production increase in the United States would not have occurred without the shipment of 3 million shells to Ukraine and the substantial orders placed with American defense manufacturers.

As the United States transfers massive amounts of weapons, munitions, and supplies to Ukraine, questions arise about the health of U.S. inventories. Are inventories getting too low? How long will it take to rebuild them?

It will take time to get the replacements in place.

At a production rate of 80,000 shells per month, it will take 36 months to replenish the 3 million shells transferred to Ukraine. At a rate of 28,000 shells per month, it would take more than 8 years to rebuild the stockpile. You certainly don’t want your warehouses running empty, especially when your enemy shifts to a wartime economy and pours all its resources into building weapons.

You also do not want to stockpile everything and allow your enemy to win in Ukraine because they will not stop at Ukraine. What will the Russians do with the annual production capacity of 3 million shells after sending all the workers into weapons factories? They can’t simply dismantle the war economy; they would much rather find another conflict to sustain it and prevent their economy from crashing.

The best solution for the United States and the Western world lies somewhere in the middle. The West must continue expanding its own production capacity while also helping Ukraine build its own.

The United States has jolted Ukraine’s defense manufacturing industry with a huge order:

The recent set of aid packages released by the United States to help Ukraine includes not only the transfer of U.S. weapons to Ukraine but also orders from Ukrainian military-industrial enterprises. $1.6 billion has been allocated for the purchase of Ukrainian-made weapons.

“This is very important today, because it is about the creation of joint defense enterprises that will be located on the territory of Ukraine or in neighboring countries, taking into account security aspects. This is one of the factors in the development of the Ukrainian economy.

Today, the military technologies that we have have been tested in combat conditions, which makes our military equipment attractive enough for many countries of the world,” said Arseniy Pushkarenko, Deputy Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Policy and Interparliamentary Cooperation, Ukraine.

In April, Oleksandr Kamyshin, Ukraine’s Minister of Strategic Industries, announced the launch of an international fundraising campaign to raise $10 billion to purchase Ukrainian-made weapons. On April 17, the Danish government became the first to make a decision to support this initiative, allocating $28.5 million for the purchase of weapons and military equipment for the Armed Forces of Ukraine from Ukrainian manufacturers. This was followed by orders from Canada and the United States.

Ukraine is struggling to develop its defense-industrial complex due to the financial pressure of the war. However, it does have a growing defense industrial complex.

The Neptune and Hrim-2 missiles are products of Ukrainian manufacturing. Neptune missiles have repeatedly demonstrated their effectiveness on the battlefield, successfully targeting various naval and land-based assets. Initially boasting a range of around 300 kilometers, Ukraine claims to have extended this range to nearly 1,000 kilometers.

However, ramping up production to one hundred missiles per month poses significant financial considerations. Thus, Ukraine must carefully weigh its options. Should the next five million in the budget be allocated to drone manufacturers, used to recruit more soldiers, or invested in missile production?

Rather than debating the merits and drawbacks of sending Taurus missiles and ultimately failing to deliver this crucial weapons system to Ukraine, Germany could choose to directly fund Ukraine’s missile program.

“The Ukrainian defense industry has already accelerated so much that the Ukrainian budget cannot fully utilize the orders of manufacturers. The capacity of the Ukrainian defense industry is about $20 billion. At the same time, Ukraine has only $6 billion to buy weapons. Roughly speaking, only a third of all the machinery in the country is working, because there are not enough funds to provide orders for the rest”, Kamyshin said.

The West has finally awakened to the importance of helping Ukraine build weapons on its own.

“We have to be more creative and exploring new ways to delivering military assistance to Ukraine,” EU’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell said in his opening speech at the EU-Ukraine Defence Industries Forum in Brussels last week. “Purchasing equipment from Ukrainian companies, or from European and Ukrainian joint ventures established in Ukraine, is an option that we will explore.”

The West woke up a little late, but I’m not inclined to blame them for the delay. No one anticipated that the war would drag on for this long. At the very least, the two major nations that neither want Ukraine to win nor want it to lose should have considered this scenario. If they are seeking a stalemate, then it is imperative to bolster deterrence to such a level that the option to invade Eastern Europe in the future is completely eradicated for imperialists.

Ukraine, with a strong defense manufacturing base, is the only way to achieve this goal, and it should not invest in the wrong areas. Its investments should significantly enhance deterrence.

Investing in Ukraine’s capability to build drones, missiles, and artillery launchers would put the Russians at a disadvantage. We used to believe that Russia’s size was its advantage. However, in the last five months, Ukraine has turned Russia’s size into its greatest vulnerability. Russia will never be able to protect all its economic assets in Western Russia, nor will it be able to manufacture a sufficient number of air defense systems.

A robust drone and missile program will serve as a significant deterrent against any future Russian invasion of Ukraine. Additionally, artillery launchers and a stockpile of ammunition will help keep Russian ground forces in check if they ever decide to invade again.

These are just a few examples, but there are numerous ways to approach this. However, it’s crucial not to keep Ukraine reliant on Western arms. Ukraine should not be in a position where it is importing weapons while its enemy stays far ahead of them in manufacturing. Ukraine needs to develop its own weapons capabilities.

Just a few hours ago, Kyiv Independent reported that the President of Ukraine lamented that some Western partners fear Russia will lose this war.

This state of mind, this endless fear, has been evident for a long time. How many days have passed since the Russians opened up a new front in Ukraine’s northeast? The number of Russian troops that have crossed the border remains in the thousands, while tens of thousands are stationed safely within Russian territory.

Ukraine possesses the weapons, but the West will not allow Ukraine to attack the troops that may one day cross the border. How much cost, in terms of lives and weapons, must Ukraine pay if the Russian armed forces decide to send all the 50,000 troops they have stationed in the northeast?

If Ukraine had its own weapons, by this time they would have preemptively attacked the Russian troops and protected their territory. Now, they have to lose their territory, fight, lose resources, and then regain them all.

A strong Ukraine with its own weapons will not only be able to protect itself from future Russian aggression, but it will also provide significant protective cover for the Baltic nations, Poland, and the littoral states in the Black Sea.

From here on out, the West should first exhaust Ukraine’s weapons production capacity before sending money to their own manufacturers. They are headed in the right direction. Let us hope they continue along this path.

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Shankar Narayan

He didn't care what he had or what he had left, he cared only about what he must do.