Ukraine Ammunition Shortages Make Russia ‘Alpha Predator’: US Veteran

Ukraine’s ammunition shortages allow Russia to be the “alpha predator on the battlefield,” a U.S. veteran fighting in Ukraine said.

The veteran, whose call sign is “Jackie,” has been in Ukraine since 2022. As an assault instructor serving in the 3rd Assault Brigade, he said the ammunition shortage has worsened . since US aid stalled have given Russia a considerable advantage.

Jackie said that because Ukraine does not have enough artillery, Russia has “free rein.” He said the Russians “are the alpha predator on the battlefield. They are able to direct artillery fire directly at our infantry and armor.”

Since the start of the Russian war, Ukraine has often been at a disadvantage in terms of weapons, ammunition and manpower, Western experts and intelligence services say. Jackie said Ukrainian troops fighting the Russian invasion are used to fighting with less artillery than the Russians.

He said that Ukraine was still often able to beat Russia through better tactics and training, a view adopted by most observers in explaining how Ukraine was able to prevent Russia to take control of the country and even take back certain territories from Russia in the east. despite having a much smaller army.

But shortages have changed that dynamic, Jackie said. Ukraine still won some victories despite its low supplies, but the situation is becoming more and more difficult. Russia has progressed.

Jackie said that before the shortages really started to hit hard, Ukraine had often used its artillery to suppress Russia’s own artillery, allowing what he called Ukraine’s superior infantry to dominate that of Russia while being less targeted.

Last year, a Russian general even admitted that Ukraine was beating Russia in this type of fighting, counter-battery and bloodying Russian forces.

Jackie said that “when our guys fight infantry against infantry with the Russians, we crush them. We do it all the time, it’s not special at this point.”

“We just need to suppress the Russian artillery and armor,” he said. “Once the fight is infantry against infantry, we win.”

But shells and rockets have fallen so far that Ukraine can no longer rely on the tactic consistently, he said.

When Ukraine has enough ammunition, “we can just keep Russian artillery at bay while doing very smart things and using our human capital and intelligence to work on the zero line with our infantry. That’s normal for us and we do a great job.” of this.”

“But once our artillery approaches zero, it tips the balance significantly toward the Russian side.”

Jackie said Ukrainian troops were keeping their shells in reserve as much as possible, being forced to miss some targets because they were not seen as an immediate enough threat.

Shortage in Avdiivka

At the beginning of the year, during the fighting for the eastern town of Avdiivka, Each month, some of his crews began their days knowing they had no shots to pull, he said.

He said that in the final week before Ukraine’s withdrawal from the key city in February, “our artillery finally ran out.”

two people, in camouflage, both wearing helmets, walk on a dirt road near a destroyed 4-story building

Two Ukrainian soldiers walk along the destroyed city in fog October 26, 2023 in Avdiivka, Ukraine.

Vlada Liberova/Libkos via Getty Images

The White House said Ukraine had to withdraw – giving Russia its first major victory in months – due to a lack of ammunition. He blamed “congressional inaction” for why Ukrainian soldiers have had to ration their supplies, while House Republicans block an additional $60 billion in aid to Ukraine.

Jackie agreed, saying the lack of ammunition was “absolutely my assessment” of why Ukraine had to withdraw from the city.

His comrades fought there and contributed to the withdrawal from Ukraine. He said they were keeping a corridor open for Ukrainian troops to withdraw.

As an instructor, Jackie traveled close to the city but not into the hottest fighting, where his men went, and it was there that he collected the testimonies of his unit.

Jackie’s brigade is still stationed in the area and the problematic shortage persists.

Urge allies

European countries continue to help Ukraine, but many said they did not have enough resources in their arsenals to give to Ukraine. And not enough new weapons are being made, which only exacerbates the problems.

New initiatives are underway to try to close this gap, including a Czech-led initiative to import one million shells from countries outside Europe into Ukraine. The first should arrive in June.

Jackie urged the United States to continue supporting Ukraine, saying: “We are not joking. We don’t spend expensive missiles to take out a guy or anything like that. We know we have to be economical with all of this stuff, and we’ve been extremely precise and extremely economical with all of this. “

He said the Ukrainians were using the supplies they received extremely well, which was hurting Russia. army and eliminating Russian planes and ships, while Ukraine has a much smaller air force and the absence of warships.

“That’s why all these planes are going down. That’s why all these tanks are being destroyed. All this ammunition is going straight to the Russian army, and it’s working very well. How many ships have been sunk at this point?”

He said Ukrainians shared American values ​​and fought for freedom and that supporting Ukraine was supporting a democracy — all reasons why he said the United States should not give up its support.

“We’re not going to lose,” he said. “It’s not going to happen. It’s not possible. We’ll die before we lose.”


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