Lack of Military Aid Puts Ukraine at Risk of 'Significant Territorial Losses'

Last Friday, March 15, two Iskander-M ballistic missiles, launched from Crimea, hit the same place, fifteen minutes apart, in a residential area of ​​Odesa. Local authorities later reported that twenty people had been killed and seventy-five injured. This operation has no military interest, but its main objective is to terrorize the civilian population, which is probably not yet out of danger, despite the various air defense systems supplied by Ukraine’s partners [Patriot, NASAMS, IRIS -T SLM, SAMP/T, Gepard, Crotale, etc.].

In the face of incessant and massive Russian attacks (on March 18, the Soumy and Kharkiv regions were again targeted by several dozen kamikaze drones, most of which were shot down, according to Kyiv), Ukrainian forces risk being left without surface-to-air ammunition, while they are already struggling to replenish their supplies of 152 and 155 mm artillery shells.

According to information provided by officials to the Washington Post, until recently, Ukrainian forces were capable of shooting down four out of every five missiles launched at a major city. If nothing is done before the end of March, this ratio will fall to one in five missiles.

“Ukrainian policymakers have told European and U.S. officials that ammunition for some of their missile defense systems could be nearly depleted by the end of March,” the Washington Post reports.

Hence, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky appealed to Kyiv’s Western partners on March 2.

“We need more air defense from our partners. We need to strengthen the Ukrainian air shield to protect our people from Russian terrorism better. More air defense systems and more missiles for air defense systems save lives,” he declared.

However, the United States is currently unable to supply the interceptor missiles used in the air defense systems it has given to Ukraine due to the lack of agreement in Congress to release $60 billion in military aid to Kyiv. The same thing happens in Europe, but for reasons that have more to do with industrial production capacity.

An adviser to President Zelensky, quoted by the Washington Post, said he feared Russia could make “major territorial advances” if Ukrainian forces did not receive the help they needed. “People don’t understand how difficult the front is right now. [Morale is low, momentum is weak. “Young people fear being recruited to die due to lack of weapons,” he stated.

CIA Director William J. Burns made the same prediction in an appearance before Congress last week. “Without American assistance, [Ukrainian] territorial losses are likely to be significant. Time is running out,” he warned.

For the moment, as Ukrainian commanders declared to the German weekly Der Spiegel, the units engaged on the front line are reduced to managing the shortage of ammunition and equipment, and some only have what is necessary to maintain their current positions… Even if this means empty in certain places, with the risk of Russian forces taking advantage.

In a status report published on March 13, the Institute for the Study of War [ISW] considers that Russian forces now have the initiative “in the entire theater of operations” and that, consequently, they will be “able to determine the time, place and scale of their offensive operations” as long as they retain it.

“Statements by [Ukrainian commander-in-chief] General Oleksandr Syrskyi suggest that an intensification of Russian offensive operations in an area where Ukrainian forces have not been given priority for ammunition could lead to a Russian advance,” the report concludes. ISW. Unless, in the meantime, Western, and particularly American, military aid arrives.

Laurent Lagneau