When the West becomes certain that the Russians have a near-100% probability of obtaining modern models of their military-technical products, then Western politicians will be less willing to supply Ukraine with modern weapons.
Everything is bought and sold,
And life openly laughs at us.
We are indignant, we protest,
But we are bought and sold.
On July 5, Bulgarian military and analytical portal BulgarianMilitary.com published an article with the catchy headline “Ukraine has sold two French-donated 155mm Caesar howitzers to Russia.”
The author of the article Boyko Nikolov with reference to unnamed French and Ukrainian sources claims that the Cesar howitzers (CAESAR) supplied as part of the military assistance to the Kiev regime were not seized during the battle, but were banally sold to Russians by the Ukrainian military personnel themselves. Moreover, for the ridiculous sum of $120,000 each, while its real value was between $3 and $5 million (according to Nikolov, $7 million).
But the issue here is not that the Ukrainians “made a bad bargain.” For the artillery crew, such money, especially under current conditions, is a very significant amount. Especially if money is paid here and now, and even in cash.
Where the Russian army gets this cash from and why it needs so much money in the field can be discussed separately. We would only remind you of the old Eastern wisdom, that a donkey loaded with gold is able to open the door of any fortress. Or, as one US general allegedly said, “A bribe of a million dollars hurts the enemy much more than a rocket worth 10 million.”
And if the lives of our soldiers can be saved not only by using weapons but also by bribing the enemy, why should we refuse such an opportunity?
Nikolov’s version that corrupt officers of the Ukrainian army, having received the French howitzers, immediately managed to sell them, looks very plausible. It looks very much so. Here are only two examples, available on open Ukrainian sources, proving that this could be the case.
The first example. Exactly the same day that the Bulgarian website published the scandalous material, director of Ukraine’s Economic Security Bureau Vadim Melnik admitted on the national television channel Ukraine 24 that his agency had detected repeated cases of sales of humanitarian aid coming from Western countries, as well as military goods.
“Even military goods are sold for money. We have established such facts,” Melnik said, adding that other Ukrainian security agencies have also discovered such cases.
But it is one thing to sell humanitarian aid. Such cases can be easily enough traced and prevented if ones want to. And quite another thing to do deals literally in the middle of the battlefield. They are much harder to trace, especially since the war will write off everything. This opens up enormous opportunities for theft and corruption in the illegal arms trade.
The second example is more of a curiosity, but it vividly conveys certain features of the Ukrainian mentality intensified by the martial law.
On June 8, the head of the Obolon district of Kiev Kirill Fesik urged city residents not to steal anti-tank Czech hedgehog and concrete blocks. He reminded that it had been difficult to build fortifications in Kiev, but now that the danger has receded and Russian troops have withdrawn from Kiev, the blocks and Czech hedgehogs have begun to disappear from the capital’s streets. He also called on all witnesses to the theft of parts of fortifications to report such cases to the Kiev police.
It is hard to say how exactly the smart inhabitants of Kiev or guests of the capital intend to use the anti-tank hedgehogs, but the fact that these very solid and massive constructions were shamelessly used for private needs is evident. And by the way, the price of the hedgehog, even as scrap metal, is much less than that of the SAU Caesar.
However, in the case of the sale of CAESARs, the Ukrainian commanders did not sin so much (judging by Ukrainian standards), because in their defense they can say that Russia will not use the “trophy” SAEs in combat with the Ukrainian army units for several reasons, and therefore this action should be considered as “only” theft, but not treason.
One way or another, but two Caesars are now in the shops of Uralvagonzavod in the capable hands of our engineers and military specialists, who will be happy to study Western technology and will borrow what they find useful. So the deal turned out to be beneficial for both sides.
The self-propelled howitzer CAESAR is a relatively modern model of a howitzer. It was first demonstrated as a prototype in 1994, and in 2002 the French army received the first five units under contract with the German Mercedes-Benz concern.
CAESAR is mounted on a wheeled chassis, presented in two variants: 6×6 и 8×8. In the first case, the dimensions of the howitzer are 10 meters long and 2.55 wide, with a total weight of just under 18 tons. The 8×8 variant is 12.3 meters long, 3.1 meters wide and weighs 32 tons. The chassis, in addition to the self-propelled howitzer itself, is capable of carrying up to 18 rounds of ammunition. Firing range is 40-42 km.
However, the key aspect here is not in the Western technical achievements, which are hidden inside the howitzer. If, or to be more precise, when the West becomes certain that the Russians will have a near 100% probability of obtaining modern weapons, it will lose interest in supplying Ukraine with modern weapons. We cannot but benefit from this decision. Heavy weapons are not a joke.
According to military experts, it was supply of long-range artillery to Kiev that made it possible to attack our positions on Snake Island, depriving us of the ability to hit the enemy with return fire. Because of this, our troops had to withdraw from Snake Island which has become a neutral territory. When the flow of heavy modern weapons to Ukraine comes to end, and the few available samples will be out of action one way or another, the Russian Armed Forces will be able to regain control over Snake Island.
By the way, in June the USA prudently refused to supply Kiev with the advanced MQ-1C Gray Eagle UAVs, which cost $10 million. The Pentagon’s Defense Technology Security Directorate justified it by the fact that the device might fall into the hands of the Russian army.
Shortly before that, on June 3, President Vladimir Putin quietly hinted that such a scenario is not excluded at all, “I don’t really understand why they [UAVs] need to be transferred to Ukraine. Well, unless it’s to give us an opportunity to land them somewhere and see how they’re built. I just don’t see any other point.”
Howitzers and multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS) are not as high-tech devices as, for example, drones, but military secrets must be protected in any case. French President Emmanuel Macron for example risks being accused by the opposition that the CAESARs have fallen into the hands of the Russians.
The sale of the CAESARs is a clear demonstration of how the Ukrainian state theft machine works. Zelensky and his comrades had been begging the West for so long for brand-new Western weapons to immediately sell them off.
In conclusion, let us note a piquant detail reported by one of the insider channels in the Ukrainian segment of Telegram. Informed Ukrainian sources claim that functionaries from Zelensky’s closest entourage are involved in schemes to sell weapons supplied by the West to Ukraine to third countries.
And if the Western media gets wind of the fact that Kiev sold modern Western weapons not only to the Russians (in single portions) but also to the Chinese, and even more so to terrorist groups from the Middle East and Central Asia (en masse), there will be a big political scandal, as a result of which many Western leaders risk losing their positions.
Source: Rossa Primavera News Agency