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Ukraine at great risk of its front lines collapsing – POLITICO

“Don’t believe the hype that they are just throwing troops through the meat grinder to slaughter them,” he added. “They do it too, of course – maximizing the impact of their numerical superiority even more – but they also learn and improve.”

Officers said shoulder-fired anti-tank missiles supplied by the UK and US during the first weeks of the invasion arrived on time, helping them save kyiv – as did the HIMARS, multiple-launch lightweight rocket systems, which were put to good use, allowing them to drive Russia out of Kherson in November 2022.

“But often we just don’t get the weapon systems when we need them, they come when they’re no longer useful,” another senior officer said, citing the F-16 fighter jets. for example. A dozen F-16s are expected to be operational this summer, once basic pilot training is completed. “Every weapon has its own moment. F-16s were needed in 2023; they will not be good for 2024,” he said.

And this because, according to this officer, Russia is ready to counter them: “In recent months, we have started to notice missiles fired by the Russians from Djankoy, in northern Crimea, but without explosive warheads. We couldn’t understand what they were doing, and then we realized: They’re telemetry,” he said. The officer explained that Russia had calculated the best place to deploy its S-400 missile and radar systems to maximize the area they can cover to target the F-16s, keeping them away from the lines frontline and Russian logistics centers.

Officers also said they now need more basic traditional weapons as well as drones. “We need howitzers and shells, hundreds of thousands of shells and rockets,” one of them told POLITICO, estimating that Ukraine needs 4 million shells and rockets. 2 million drones. “We have told Western partners at all times that we have combat experience and we have an understanding of the battlefield for this war. (They) have the resources and they have to give us what we need,” he added.

Europe, for its part, is trying to help Ukraine compensate for its enormous disadvantage in artillery shells. And in this regard, a proposed bulk purchase of artillery ammunition by the Czech Republic could bring Ukraine’s total, both within and outside the EU, to around 1.5 million rounds , at a cost of $3.3 billion – but that’s still far from what it needs.

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