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ISW: Ukraine likely to blunt Russian offensive if resumed US assistance arrives promptly

ISW warns Ukraine may face setbacks in coming weeks awaiting US weapons like long-range missiles & air defenses.
Ukrainian soldiers. Credit: President Volodymyr Zelenskyy
ISW: Ukraine likely to blunt Russian offensive if resumed US assistance arrives promptly

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) reported on 21 April that Ukraine could likely blunt the current Russian offensive if US assistance would arrive promptly.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy emphasized the importance of timely military aid from the United States during an interview with NBC News on 21 April. “US military support gives Ukraine a chance at victory,” Zelensky stated, according to reports. However, he warned that Ukrainian progress would depend on “how fast military aid arrives on the frontlines.”

Zelenskyy noted that delays in military assistance have already led to Ukrainian losses, saying, “Delays in the delivery of military assistance have already contributed to Ukrainian materiel and personnel losses in ‘several directions.'”

The ISW reports that Ukrainian forces “may suffer additional setbacks in the coming weeks while waiting for US security assistance that will allow Ukraine to stabilize the front.”

The Ukrainian President highlighted the need for long-range weapons and air defense systems, stating, “The Ukrainian military is especially anticipating the deliveries of air defense and long-range weapon systems since Ukrainian forces currently lack significant long-range capabilities to prevent Ukrainian casualties on the frontlines.”

US Senate Intelligence Committee Chairperson Senator Mark Warner said on 21 April that US provisions of military aid to Ukraine will be in transit to Ukraine “by the end of the week” if the Senate passes the supplemental appropriations bill on 23 April and US President Joe Biden signs it by 24 April.

Warner also said that the US presidential administration has been prepared to provide long-range ATACMS to Ukraine, as the bill specified for the past several months.

ISW assessed earlier that Russian forces are likely to intensify their offensive operations, missile strikes, and drone attacks in the coming weeks before US military aid reaches Ukraine’s frontlines.

The US Congress approved the long-awaited $61 billion aid package on 20 April, including long-range ATACMS missiles.

Other takeaways from the report:

  • Ukrainian forces struck and damaged the Russian Black Sea Fleet’s (BSF) Kommuna submarine support ship – the world’s oldest active-duty naval vessel – in occupied Sevastopol, Crimea on 21 April.
  • The Russian and Chinese navies signed a memorandum of understanding and cooperation on 21 April amid recent reports of China’s increased support for Russia’s war in Ukraine.
  • The Kremlin blocked domestic access to the website of the French non-governmental organization Reporters Without Borders (RSF), depriving Russians of access to independent assessments of Russian freedom of speech and press.
  • Russian forces recently advanced near Kreminna and Avdiivka and in the Donetsk-Zaporizhzhia Oblast border area.
  • Russian forces have increased their use of small, lightweight, off-road vehicles along the frontline.

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