Despite Western arms, Ukraine is outgunned in east
21 June 2022
Despite the heavy influx of weapons from the West, Ukrainian forces are outgunned by the Russians in the battle for the eastern Donbas region, where the fighting is largely being carried out by way of artillery exchanges.
While the Russians can keep up heavy, continuous fire for hours at a time, the defenders can’t match the enemy in either weapons or ammunition and must use their ammo more judiciously.
At the outpost in eastern Ukraine, dozens and dozens of mortar shells are stacked up. But the troops’ commander, Mykhailo Strebizh, who goes by the nom de guerre Gaiduk, lamented that if his fighters were to come under an intense artillery barrage, their cache would, at best, amount to only about four hours’ worth of return fire.
Ukrainian authorities say the West’s much-ballyhooed support for the country is not sufficient and is not arriving on the battlefield fast enough for this grinding and highly lethal phase of the war.
The United States last week upped the ante with its largest pledge of aid for Ukrainian forces yet: an additional $1 billion in military assistance to help repel or reverse Russian advances.
But experts note that such aid deliveries haven’t kept pace with Ukraine’s needs, in part because defense industries aren’t turning out weaponry fast enough.
Earlier this month, Ukraine’s ambassador in Madrid, Serhii Phoreltsev, thanked Spain — which trumpeted a shipment of 200 tons of military aid in April — but said the ammunition included was enough for only about two hours of combat.