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CNN: Munition shortages pose dire threat to Ukraine, say Western officials

CNN cites Western officials warning of dire consequences for Ukraine due to munition shortages and delayed US aid, putting air defenses at risk amid intensifying Russian attacks.
Ordnance for M777 gun. Source: US Embassy in Ukraine
155mm ordnance for M777 gun. Photo: US Embassy in Ukraine
CNN: Munition shortages pose dire threat to Ukraine, say Western officials

Western officials are warning that Ukraine’s shortage of ammunition and military equipment is having an increasingly dire effect on the battlefield, as the US and its allies struggle to resupply the country’s military, CNN says referring to Western officials. Russia is intensifying its attacks on Kyiv’s dwindling air defenses, knowing that they likely won’t be replenished anytime soon.

The US foreign aid package, including crucial military assistance for Ukraine, has been delayed since last fall by far-right Republicans in Congress. The Senate passed a $95 billion bill, with over $60 billion for Ukraine, but House Speaker Mike Johnson refused to bring it to a vote, citing the need not to rush. He now plans to hold the vote after the Easter recess, following the government funding resolution.

The Ukrainian forces are “experiencing shortages in air defense munitions, mostly in the medium to long range,” a NATO official said on 5 April as per CNN. “It’s not just that we know that. It’s that Russia knows that. So Russia is using drones and missiles in ways that are really explicitly designed to deplete Ukrainian air defense systems.”

The Ukrainian military is experiencing shortages in air defense munitions, particularly in the medium to long range. This situation is not only known to Western allies but also to Russia, which is using drones and missiles to deplete Ukrainian air defense systems deliberately.

CNN says Ukraine has been rationing its air defenses for about a month, relying on limited systems, including the US and German-provided Patriot systems around Kyiv, some Soviet-era launchers retrofitted to fire Western missiles, and S-200 and S-300 surface-to-air missile systems.

On 4 April, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg described Ukraine’s battlefield situation as “difficult” and “serious.” NATO foreign ministers met this week in Brussels and agreed to check their countries’ inventories for any additional air defense systems, particularly Patriots, that they can share with Ukraine.

However, Ukraine is quickly running out of munitions for its air defense systems, and the US will not be able to resupply them until the administration secures supplemental funding from Congress, stalled by Congressional Republicans for more than si months.

According to CNN, a senior defense official suggested that the Ukrainians must be making “tough decisions” on where to prioritize their air defenses due to the dwindling supply. Separate shortages of artillery ammunition could be “potentially catastrophic” for Ukraine in the short term. Russia, on the other hand, maintains a “significant quantitative advantage” over Ukraine in terms of munitions, manpower, and equipment and is likely recruiting roughly 30,000 additional personnel per month.

Ukrainian President Zelenskyy warned of a potential major Russian offensive by May or June, difficult to defeat without increased Western support. Despite Russia’s tactical advances and Ukraine’s defensive efforts, concerns remain over Ukraine’s resilience and artillery shortages. However, Ukrainian drone strikes on Russian oil refineries have significantly impacted Russia’s energy sector and domestic fuel market, despite US misgivings about strikes inside Russian territory.

As a result of Ukrainian strikes, Russia has increased gasoline imports from Belarus and imposed a 6-month export ban to stabilize prices, with a growing impact on its economy. US and Western officials, recognizing the low prospects for a significant breakthrough in the war, stress the importance of continued support for Ukraine. NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg is considering options like establishing a $100 billion fund over five years to provide long-term support, especially as concerns grow about potential changes in US support.

Politico: NATO eyes $100 billion Ukraine fund and Ramstein group takeover amid looming Trump presidency

NATO is also considering taking over the leadership of the Pentagon-led Ukraine Contact Defense Group to coordinate weapons deliveries and enhance security assistance to Ukraine. Secretary General Stoltenberg emphasized the need for a more robust and predictable long-term support framework to reduce Ukraine’s dependence on ad hoc announcements.

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