Home World News Westerners struggle to keep promise of military support

Westerners struggle to keep promise of military support

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“If Ukraine had access to all the weapons it needs, the war would already be over, said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Tuesday, April 19, addressing Western leaders. It is unfair that Ukraine still has to ask what its partners have been storing somewhere for years. If they have weapons and ammunition that Ukraine needs, it is their moral duty to help protect freedom and save the lives of thousands of Ukrainians. »

heavy weapons

This call for help from the Ukrainian president reflects the reality of the new phase of the war. Firepower will be key in the battle for control of Donbass, a high-intensity clash involving missiles, artillery and armed drones, with the risk of Ukrainian forces running out of ammunition and weapons. equipment.

→ EXPLANATION. War in Ukraine: why Putin and Russia want to take over Donbass

At the start of the conflict, the Westerners were concerned with supplying rifles, helmets, medical kits, encrypted communication equipment and portable Stinger and Javelin missiles. From now on, the allies are delivering to Ukraine the heavy weapons that they have long hesitated to provide, in particular armored vehicles, artillery and helicopters.

A new US aid package

Less than a week after announcing a tranche of the same amount, the United States is set to approve a new $800 million military aid package for Ukraine. Ukrainians today have “more operational fighter jets than two weeks ago, says Pentagon spokesman John Kirby. Without going into details on what other countries are supplying, I would say that they have received additional aircraft and spare parts to increase their fleet” of fighter planes.

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→ RECAP. War in Ukraine, day 56: humanitarian corridor in Mariupol, fighter jets for Ukraine

The command of the Ukrainian air forces, however, specified that it had not “not received new planes”but “spare parts for the repair of existing devices”.

At the forefront of military support for Ukraine – American military assistance amounts to $2.6 billion since the Russian invasion – the United States ensures a large part of the coordination, through the command (Eucom) of the American army, based in Stuttgart (Germany), to which is added an “international donor coordination centre” set up with the British. Ammunition, weapons and equipment transit mainly through Poland and Romania, from where they are transported by truck to Ukraine. “Eight to ten flights a day arrive in the region, not only from the United States, but also from other countries” according to the Pentagon spokesman.

Soviet-made equipment

Washington is working to facilitate the supply to kyiv, by the former Warsaw Pact countries, of tanks, artillery, and perhaps even fighter planes, dating from the Soviet era, in exchange for the promise to resupply them with Western-made weapons. In early April, the Czech Republic sent trains loaded with T-72 tanks and Soviet-made armored vehicles to Ukraine. Slovakia has agreed to deliver an S-300 air defense system to Ukraine, in exchange for a Patriot missile battery supplied by the United States.

→ ANALYSIS. Between ambushes and heavy artillery: how the Ukrainian army stands up to Moscow

Westerners reiterated their promises of support on Tuesday, April 19, after a videoconference of allied leaders, but they remain cautious. The UK has provided around $588 million worth of hardware and promises “more artillery”. Of fear “to add war to war”Germany refuses to provide combat tanks and armored vehicles requested by Ukraine.

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Under pressure, the German government has announced that it wants to release more than one billion euros in military aid. More discreet, France has delivered equipment for several hundred million euros, according to the Ministry of the Armed Forces: means of protection, optronic equipment, armament, ammunition and weapon systems.

If fighting continues in eastern and southeastern Ukraine, Western military aid may not keep pace. Stocks are dwindling, including in the United States where a third of Javelin anti-tank missile inventory has been delivered to Ukraine. Pentagon officials recently met with the heads of eight arms companies, including Lockheed Martin and Raytheon, producers of the Javelin and Stinger, to discuss how to replenish US weapons stockpiles and meet kyiv’s demands.

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More than a million Ukrainians have returned to their country

A total of 1.1 million Ukrainians have returned to their country since the start of the Russian invasion on February 24, the Ukrainian Border Guard Service announced on Wednesday (April 20).

The bar of five million Ukrainian refugees – they number 5,034,439 – was crossed the same day, according to figures from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

More than 218,000 non-Ukrainians, mainly students and migrant workers, have also left Ukraine for neighboring countries, which means that more than 5.25 million people in total have fled since the start of the war.

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