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Why do countries tell the public the type of weapons and monetary amounts of weapon they are giving Ukraine. Is this not better kept as classified info?

E.G. 800m USD in Javelin missiles.

2 Answers 2

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Western democratic countries widely share certain details of the weapons transfers to Ukraine for several reasons:

  • Sharing information with their own electorate is considered beneficial, since the majority of their voters support Ukraine. Some details of the weapons transfers add credibility to their narrative.
  • Sharing information with their allies puts peer pressure on the electorates and the governments of the allies. It thus increases the probability of the allies helping Ukraine with weapons, sanctions against Russia and political isolation and pressure on Russia. Such united efforts help amplify the efforts of the individual countries. At this point, most Western democracies do not want to be viewed as lagging behind when it comes to countering a country that many in their electorates view as an aggressor, allegedly committing war crimes and destruction on a scale not seen in the civilized world since WWII.
  • Sharing information with Russian government and "electorate" gives the Russians the correct idea of the massive scale of support that Ukraine has in the West. The planners, executioners, and supporters of the Russian "special military operation" thus can assess more accurately the near future of the conflict. Namely, that the West can continue supplying Ukraine with weapons long past the time that Russian economy (which is roughly equal in size to that of Italy) collapses under the weight of sanctions and heavy Russian losses in the equipment and personnel. The probability of regime change in Russia thus goes up, given that the "small and victorious war" is slowly but inevitably morphs into the incremental descent into economic, military and political abyss with no apparent end in sight.

Note that many of the details of the weapons transfers are not announced widely, to avoid destruction of the weapons en route to their destination by the Russian military through air strikes or sabotage, for example:

  • The exact date, time and the precise route of the transfer.
  • Identifications of the personnel facilitating the transfer.
  • Weapons transponders information.
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  • LOL when I goggled russia gdp italy comes up as comparison
    – Lightsout
    Jan 17, 2023 at 1:41
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There are different actors involved:

  • Ukraine wants to get armaments and other support to defeat Russia and to liberate their country.
  • Some Western governments want to help Ukraine to push Russia back, but they do not want to "trigger WWIII" through their help.
  • Some Western politicians want lower prices at the gasoline stations, because high gasoline prices lead to voter discontent. They are in a pickle, because they can't know if delaying tougher sanctions is viable on the long run.
  • Some Western politicians want to help Ukraine, because they are upset about Russian crimes. Others just want to be seen to help Ukraine, because their voters are upset about Russian crimes.

By publishing who delivers what, and who hasn't delivered what Ukraine wants, Ukraine puts pressure on Western governments to deliver more arms. See the MiG affair -- Ukraine asked Washington to "permit" that transfer. How can Washington say no to that? But by "permission" they meant that Washington should deliver replacement jets to Poland and handle the actual transfer.

By publishing what they have delivered, or what they have promised to deliver, Western governments can try to score points with those voters who want them to "do something."

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