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Ukraine’s dilemma: Weapons with high price tag

Posted January. 06, 2023 07:48,   

Updated January. 06, 2023 07:48


According to the New York Times (NYT) on Tuesday, Ukraine is concerned about its high-tech weapons used to knock down Russia’s drones cost too much. It means Ukraine is in a profitability dilemma because it has no alternative weapons to replace the high-price missiles to shoot down cheap drones.

Iranian self-destructing drones, which Russia has been using recently, cost as little as 20,000 U.S. dollars each. In contrast, the cost of firing an American NASAMS, a surface-to-air missile, costs 25 times more, reaching 500,000 dollars. A Soviet ‘S-300,’ which Ukraine mainly used before the U.S. gave the assistance of NASAMS, is priced at 140,000 dollars.

The NYT diagnosed that even though Ukraine has enjoyed some success against Russian drone strikes, the current situation is not just favorable to Ukraine. Some say Russia is betting on the snowballing deficit of Ukraine as it launches more missiles.

However, some point out that Ukraine has no option but to endure a deficit to safeguard its people and infrastructure. “Ukraine was deploying more complex and expensive air defense systems to protect sensitive and critical infrastructure,” said George Barros, an Institute for the Study of War analyst. “It costs far less, for example, to shoot down a drone than to repair a destroyed power station. And then there is the human factor,” said Artem Starosiek, the head of Molfar, a Ukrainian consultancy that supports the country’s war effort.

Aware of the situation, the Western allies are increasing their support of Ukraine’s defense. According to the Agence France-Presse (AFP), French President Emmanuel Macron promised to supply the ‘AMX-10 RC’ light armored carriers to Ukraine in a phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Wednesday. It was the first time Western-designed tanks were supplied to the Ukrainian armed forces. President Zelensky expressed his appreciation in response, saying, “Thank you, friend! Your leadership brings our victory closer.”

Sung-Hwi Kang yolo@donga.com