Tuesday, 27 Feb 2024

The weapons Ukraine wants

Ukrainian soldiers fire artillery in Donetsk. Photo: Diego Herrera Carcedo/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Seven Ukrainian MPs who serve on a commission that coordinates arms requests and deliveries with partner countries briefed reporters on Monday that the window for a Ukrainian counter-offensive is now opening, but Kyiv is still desperately short on much-needed supplies.

Their four main requests:

1. Ammunition, in particular 155mm artillery shells.

  • Oleksandra Ustinova, who led the delegation, said Ukraine is firing 6,000-8,000 shells per day, but receiving just 20,000 every two months.
  • Efforts to increase production are showing some progress, but if they don’t speed up “it’s going to be a huge problem.”

2. Armored vehicles, including tanks.

  • Ukraine has been receiving tanks, but not nearly enough for the new brigades it plans to field in the counter-offensive, one MP said. Ukraine is training new units specifically for the offensive.

3. Long-range missiles.

4. Jets, in particular the U.S-made F-16.

Between the lines: The U.S. has promised tanks, though not until the fall. Washington isn’t providing jets or long-range missiles in part out of concern they could be used to strike Russian territory and thus spark further escalation.

  • National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby reiterated on Monday that F-16s are “not on the table right now,” but said the U.S. was providing the systems Ukraine was “most going to need in the weeks and months ahead.”
  • The Ukrainian MPs sharply disagreed with the idea that F-16s aren’t needed, particularly because of their value for air defense.

Worth noting: One MP confirmed that Ukraine is running low on S-300 missiles, as emerged in the Pentagon leaks, but said the Soviet-era system was no longer “the main air defense system for us.”

  • Still, Ukrainian forces are trying to limit their use of air defense interceptors, knowing the Russians were using drones as “fake targets” to exhaust their supply.

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