Armaments Research Services (ARES) has just released a very useful assessment of military weaponry being used in the war in Eastern Ukraine, in a report titled `Raising Red Flags: An examination of Arms and Munitions in the ongoing Conflict in Ukraine (Research Report No3, November 2014). This report provides a detailed review of the weaponry identified as being utilized by both the Ukrainian and the separatist forces, covering everything from munitions to types of personal armaments to heavy artillery and armoured vehicles.
In sifting through the detail of information, perhaps the most interesting part of the report is the recording of the range of weaponry in use that is not available to the Ukrainian military. This weaponry is almost exclusively found in the stockpiles of the Russian army. This data would therefore add to the body of evidence that the Russian military is supplying weapons to the battlegrounds of Eastern Ukraine.
However while the report’s focus is on detailing the range of weaponry available to the forces fighting in Ukraine, it also reflects a distinct political – pro-Russian – bias. Whether this is a deliberate bias or a result of incomplete research is another debate. However the report’s conclusions are severely deficient. We therefore conclude that while the report is a very valuable contribution to the knowledge base of the weapons being utilized in the war in Ukraine it is questionable in its analysis of the sources of supply and therefore in its conclusions. And yet in the information field reader perceptions of analysis and conclusions are everything.