Former UK defense secretary Ben Wallace in a Sunday op-ed for The Telegraph urged the West not to pause support for Ukraine for even a single day, writing, “The world is watching to see if the West has the resolve to stand up for our values and the rules-based system. What we do now for Ukraine will set the direction for all of our security for years to come.”
Wallace’s piece is unironically entitled Ukraine is winning. Now let’s finish the job and claims that victory for Kyiv is not only possibly but even imminent if only the West keeps up its support and the Zelensky government follows NATO’s guidance. Wallace admits that the question of manpower is not in Ukraine’s favor, however.
Most surprising is what the man who was UK defense secretary throughout most of the war (in office until Aug.31st of this year) had to say about the status of Ukraine’s forces. He called for Zelensky to enact a different policy and to essentially inject younger blood into the fight.
“The average age of the soldiers at the front is over 40. I understand President Zelensky’s desire to preserve the young for the future, but… just as Britain did in 1939 and 1941, perhaps it is time to reassess the scale of Ukraine’s mobilization,” Wallace wrote
He said this is a major issue that still remains and must be corrected, yet still “slowly but surely” Ukraine’s forces have been “adapting tactics, absorbing lessons, and making the best of the equipment we have all gifted them.” Wallace argues that Zelensky must mobilize at a faster rate and in greater numbers if it wants to keep up with Russia.
But despite the elderly front lines, Wallace still argues that more advanced weapons, including long-range missiles, must be pumped into the conflict:
Putin is desperately grasping at the final two things that can save him – time and the splitting of the international community. Britain can do something about both. We must help Ukraine maintain its momentum – and that will require more munitions, ATACMSs and Storm Shadows. And the best way to keep the international community together is the demonstration of success.
Of course, Wallace’s call to find younger men to do the fighting suggests tragically that many have already been killed or severely wounded. In reality it’s a cynical call for Kiev to throw more lives into the meat grinder, as opposed to trying to open up peace negotiations.
This is also a recipe for authorities to continue brutally rounding up men from off the street for forced conscription, as has been documented throughout much of the conflict.