We Are The World

Back in the 80s, we had concerts to raise money for countries in need. The old song says, “There are people dying, and it’s time to lend a hand…” So we sent money and medicine and blankets. Today, people are still dying, and we are still lending a hand; but today, it is in the form of powerful rockets and missiles, each with a longer and longer reach.

Winter was in full swing when Russian President Vladimir Putin launched his invasion of Ukraine in late February of 2022. As hard as it is to believe, the war has progressed through spring and summer, and now, we are in fall, looking at another long, cold winter of fighting. Then, much of the world thought Ukraine would be outgunned and taken over quickly by the mighty Russian army. Some 239 days later, we know that was not the case today.

From Albania to Uzbekistan, several nations rushed to the aid of Ukraine with humanitarian help and lots and lots of weapons. Today, we’ll look at some of those weapons and how they have helped Ukraine remain independent with firm hopes of a future free of Russian domination. Keep in mind that it is beyond this article’s scope to list every weapon system provided by every country over the course of many months. However, if you notice that we have left out something significant, please feel free to make a note of it in the comments. You can also check out the previous SOFREP report on Ukraine’s updated “wish list” here. 

An M777 howitzer is being used against Russian forces in Ukraine
An M777 howitzer is employed in eastern Ukraine against Russian forces. May 2022. Screenshot YouTube and The Sun

Only 48 hours after the start of the invasion, on February 26th, 2022, Reuters reported on President Joe Biden’s guidance to the US Senate to release $350 million worth of American weapons from our stockpiles as the Ukrainians struggled to repulse an active invasion. Biden directed Secretary of State Antony Blinken to do this through the Foreign Assistance Act. In the first days of the war, Ukraine quickly asked for Javelin anti-armor weapons to crush Russian tanks and Stinger missiles to eliminate threats from the air.

Sitting here seven months later, with billions and billions in aid sent to Ukraine, I had to chuckle a little bit to myself when I read Mr. Blinken’s comment that the request for the weapons authorization was “unprecedented.” Blinken noted that we had already sent more than $1 billion of military assistance to Ukraine in separate packages in the fall of 2021 and later in December.

In those earliest days of hostilities, the Netherlands agreed to send 200 Stinger missiles to Ukraine “as quickly as possible.” Belgium kicked in 2,000 machine guns and 3,800 tons of fuel. In a move that foreshadowed future difficulties, Germany agreed to send 400 rocket-propelled grenades from the Netherlands to Ukraine. They faced harsh criticism from the world community for trying to appease both sides in the war and not taking direct action. As they do not have a military of their own, the government of Iceland agreed to transport military equipment from other countries to the war zone.

an Iceland air transport plane
In late February, an Air Atlanta Icelandic 747-440 delivered Slovenian military equipment to an undisclosed location near the Ukrainian border. Screenshot from icelandmonitor.mbl.is

Non-lethal Aid

Much of the aid sent to Ukraine from the global community has been non-lethal. It doesn’t tend to get as much press as the rockets, missiles, and other stuff that goes boom, but it is vital nonetheless. For example, the US has sent over 75,000 sets of body armor and kevlar helmets. Japan has also sent thousands of helmets (Type 88 version 2 Kai) and bulletproof vests (Type 3 Kai). In addition, they’ve provided hundreds of tents and generators, satellite phones, binoculars, over 110,000 emergency rations, and tons of medical supplies. The Japanese Ministry of Defense also sent an unspecified number of surveillance drones and vans (for transportation, of course). Many nations have contributed to night vision devices. So many night vision devices (aka night observation devices, or NODs) that from what I hear from soldiers on the ground, they have enough of those and don’t need additional.

Germany has sent over 400,000 MREs (meals, ready-to-eat). Or, as we sometimes called them, “meals, ready to excrete.” Yes, we could be childish at times. To help prep them for the coming winter months, they have also provided Ukrainians with almost a quarter of a million winter hats, 116,000 winter coats, 80,000 pairs of cold-weather pants, and over ten thousand cold-weather sleeping bags. To help save mother earth, they’ve sent ten tons of something called AdBlue. I had to look that one up. AdBlue is a liquid comprised of 32.5% urea (the same stuff found in your pee) and 67.6% deionized water. It helps diesel engines break down soot and unburnt fuel to water and nitrogen. We wouldn’t want to mess up the planet too badly while we’re busy killing each other.