On March 17, the Ukrainian Parliament allocated 6.9 billion hryvnia — about $684 million — to defense. In the last few weeks, Ukrainian armed forces, tanks and other defensive weapons have been deployed along the country’s border with Russia. The number of border guards along Ukraine’s southeastern borders has also increased. Kherson province is planning to build a 20-kilometer long ditch along its border with Crimea.
A National Guard has been formed, and its ranks are to consist of 20,000 troops. The Ukrainian Security Service appears also to have become more active in Ukraine’s vulnerable southeastern provinces. No less important, the population is determined to resist and sales of guns have far outstripped supply.
Thinking in more long-term categories, former Minister of Foreign Affairs Volodymyr Ohryzko has even suggested that Ukraine exit the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and initiate the “process of uranium enrichment.” American provision of non-lethal military equipment and advisers would also go a long way to improving Ukraine’s deterrent capacity.
Kiev’s defensive efforts may or may not be enough to stop a possible Russian attack, but they would certainly make it far more difficult, risky, and bloody — which may be enough to deter Moscow.