Russia is gaining advantage in eastern Ukraine as forces learn from earlier mistakes, US officials say

Russia is gaining advantage in eastern Ukraine as forces learn from earlier mistakes, US officials say

The United States does not expect new weapons systems recently supplied to Ukrainian forces, including the HIMARS multiple rocket launch system, to immediately change the situation on the battlefield, in part because such systems have so far been shipped with a range limited and a limited number of rockets to ensure that they are not fired into Russian territory. Additionally, Russian forces have been able to destroy some of the new Western-supplied weapons, including M777 howitzers, in targeted attacks.
The US assessments, which increasingly foresee a long and hard battle in eastern Ukraine, come as the months-long war there has come to a head in recent days. Ukraine’s military has been burning Soviet-era munitions that fit older systems, and Western governments face a tough decision on whether to continue to increase their assistance to the country.

American assessments paint a bleak picture of the future of the war, with heavy losses in personnel and equipment on both sides. US officials believe Russian forces plan to sustain intense attacks in the east, characterized by heavy artillery and missile strikes, with the intention of wearing down Ukrainian forces and NATO’s resolve over time.

Russia’s gains have been on full display in recent days after Ukraine’s defense of Lysychansk, the last town in the Luhansk region it still holds, became much more tenuous. In recent days, the Russians have advanced into several villages south of Lysychansk, though not without losses from Ukrainian artillery fire.
In the coming weeks, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will virtually address upcoming G7 and NATO summits, senior US administration officials said, with the leader seeking to shore up Western support for his country. During the G7, President Joe Biden will unveil measures along with other leaders to increase pressure on Russia for its invasion. And in NATO, the United States will announce measures to “strengthen European security, along with significant new contributions expected from allies,” an official said.

Members of the Ukrainian parliament have told US lawmakers that the Russian military has calculated the amount of ammunition that Western allies have in stockpiles for the Ukrainian army’s mostly Russian-made artillery, and they plan to wait for Ukrainian forces to settle. run out over time.

“Putin is not deterred and I don’t think he ever will be,” Rep. Mike Quigley, an Illinois Democrat who sits on the House Intelligence Committee, told CNN.

“This war could last for years,” he added.

At home, US and NATO partners are beginning to see the limits of their own supplies of certain advanced weapons, including shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles and Javelin anti-tank missiles. These weapon systems have their own complicated supply lines, meaning it could take years to replace the thousands of such missiles already being supplied to Ukrainian forces.

Meanwhile, the US Defense Department’s watchdog has opened an assessment of the department’s plans to replenish its own ammunition and equipment stockpiles as it continues to supply significant quantities to Ukraine, the agency announced Wednesday.

“The purpose of this assessment is to determine the extent to which the Department of Defense has planned to replenish its equipment and ammunition provided to Ukraine,” the department’s inspector general said in a statement.

CNN’s Devan Cole, Katie Bo Lillis, Barbara Starr, Natasha Bertrand, Oren Liebermann, Tim Lister, Donald Judd and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.