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ISW: Western air defense supplies remain crucial for Ukraine as Russia adapting to current capabilities

As Ukraine strives to expand domestic defense production over time for self-reliance, sustained Western aid supplying air defense systems remains essential now to protect facilities from Russian attacks, according to ISW.
German IRIS-T surface-to-air missile system. Credit: Ukrinform

The US-based think tank Institute for the Study of War (ISW) says Western air defense system and missile provisions remain crucial for Ukraine as Russian forces attempt to adapt to current Ukrainian air defense capabilities and as Ukraine develops its defense industrial base (DIB).

The ISW has evaluated that Russian and Ukrainian forces are engaged in a dynamic offensive-defense race characterized by continuous experimentation and adaptation of their long-range strike capabilities and air defense systems.

The sustained and enhanced delivery of air defense systems and missiles from Western nations to Ukraine remains vital, countering Russia’s ongoing efforts to breach Ukrainian air defenses. The integration of these Western-provided systems into Ukraine’s air defense network has been crucial, especially in defending against Russian ballistic missiles.

Western support in the form of air defense systems and missile provisions to Ukraine is critical in the short to medium term. This support is key to safeguarding Ukraine’s expanding Defense Industrial Base (DIB), especially as Russian forces persistently target Ukrainian industrial facilities.

On 4 January, US State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller described American aid to Ukraine as “critical,” acknowledging Ukraine’s current inability to self-defend. However, he noted that the level of US aid might not need to remain as high in the future, given Ukraine’s efforts to expand its Defense Industrial Base (DIB) to become more self-sufficient.

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