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Kyiv begs the West for weapons

NewsKyiv begs the West for weapons

Ukraine is asking for more weapons ahead of the meeting of defense ministers of partner countries in Brussels

Ukrainian officials and analysts say Western weapons deliveries have been too limited and too slow to change the situation on the front line. Ukraine has made it very clear from the beginning of the Russian invasion that its country would need large supplies of modern weapons to repel Russian attacks. It has received thousands of anti-tank and anti-aircraft rocket systems from the US, UK and several other countries just before and immediately after the attack by Russian troops. However, the slow but bloody advance of Russian troops in Donbas proves once again that to turn the tide of this war, Ukraine needs more so-called “heavy weapons.”

“The formula for winning this war is Ukrainian soldiers with more Western weapons,” said Taras Chmut, head of “Come Back Alive,” one of the leading volunteer organizations in Ukraine. He emphasizes in his analytical videos, that Ukraine has relied mainly on old, Soviet-era or Ukrainian-designed weapons. They have played a key role in the early stages of the war. However, some are being destroyed by Russian artillery and others will need to be replaced within a year. In addition, the Russians have much more military equipment. They have 10-20 times more artillery pieces and 50 times more ammunition in eastern Ukraine.

No wonder, one of President Myjailo Podoliak’s advisors claims that Ukraine would need “1,000 155mm caliber howitzers and 300 multiple rocket launchers, as well as 500 tanks, 2,000 armored vehicles and 1,000 drones” to achieve military parity with Russia. So far, Ukraine has not obtained modern tanks. It has received just over 100 howitzers, mainly M777s, from the U.S., as well as some howitzers from France and the Czech Republic. Contracts have been signed with Poland and other countries. The US pledged four HIMARS multiple rocket launchers after several months of deliberation, as it reportedly feared that Ukraine would attack targets inside Russian territory.

While the weapons supplied are of high quality, they are still in short supply. Military analyst Mykola Bielieskov stressed that no advantage in quality or tactics can compensate for the low number of artillery systems. Ukraine needs more weapons, as every day it sees hundreds of losses due to the overwhelming superiority of the Russian Army in military equipment in Donbas. In some cases, the divergence between promises of support to Ukraine and the assistance actually provided, as in the case of Germany, has caused frustration and disbelief.

Ukrainian and international observers point to several factors contributing to the relative slowness of supplies:

  • wariness about Russia’s reaction, reluctance to open up to the new reality of war, sluggish bureaucracy, etc.
  • Western military stocks may not really be very large after years of underfunding of the Armed Forces by almost all European countries.
  • weapons are of most use at the moment in Ukraine and not in warehouses, while their production can easily be increased.
  • Russia would probably avoid attacking the West in response to arms deliveries.
  • the scale of casualties the Ukrainian Army inflicted on the Russian Army shows that Russia is not strong enough to engage in several wars at the same time.

Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelensky also emphasized the importance of Western-supplied artillery in his speech on Tuesday and said of the Russian troops that Ukraine “is fighting absolute evil.” He stressed that the West has enough weapons, “it just needs political will to supply them.” At the same time, he reiterated that he is ready to talk to Vladimir Putin about ending the war at any time.

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