May 19, 2022

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West sends Ukrainian fighter jets and heavy weapons amid Russian attack in Donbass

West sends Ukrainian fighter jets and heavy weapons amid Russian attack in Donbass

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The Ukrainian army, outnumbered and heavily armed, withstood Russia for almost two months, as well as against Russia Intensify its attacks on eastern and southern UkraineWestern governments are sending heavier weapons and warplanes to support the resistance efforts.

President Biden approved a new $800 million aid package last week Which significantly expanded the range of weapons provided by Washington to Kyiv. The package included 155mm howitzers – a serious upgrade of long-range artillery to match the Russian systems – 40,000 artillery rounds and 11 Soviet Mi-17 helicopters.

The latter fits well with Ukraine’s current arsenal because those planes use an operating system similar to Mi-8 helicopters that Kyiv has used for decades, said Alexei Muravyev, a national security expert at Australia’s Curtin University.

“We are doing everything we can with each package to adapt it as needed at the time, and now the need has changed,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said on Tuesday. “The war has changed, because now the Russians have given priority to the Donbass region, and this is a completely different level of fighting, a completely different kind of fighting.”

Kirby said Ukraine has also received combat aircraft and related parts from other countries. He refused to specify the type of aircraft that was supplied or the countries that supplied them.

At the start of a visit to the three Baltic countries that are members of NATO, the German Foreign Minister Annala Barbuk On Wednesday, he said Germany had delivered anti-tank weapons and Stinger anti-aircraft missiles “and other things that we haven’t talked about publicly so that deliveries can be carried out quickly and safely.”

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Some of the materiel sent by the West will arrive before the expected clashes between Russian and Ukrainian forces in the eastern Donbass region that will be particularly bloody, said Zhang Junyan, a military expert at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University. He said future fighting is likely to be greater in scope than recent battles between the two countries, but that Ukrainian forces that have been facing Russian-backed separatists in the region for years are also well-trained to fight in the Donbass.

But the delivery of new weapons and familiarity with the terrain does not mean that Ukrainian forces will have an easy time against Russian forces with superior weapons. This week, a senior US defense official said Russia was Learning from her failure To seize Kyiv, the capital, and make adjustments to the command and control structures and logistics.

“Resupplying Ukraine is not only important, it has to happen quickly and it has to happen on a large scale,” said Mick Ryan, a retired Australian Army major general who was analyzing the invasion. You should also assume that the Russians may intercept some shipments.

The Washington Post, the Pentagon and National Security Correspondent Karon Demirjian explain the difficulty of determining what weapons will be sent to Ukraine. (Video: Joshua Carroll/The Washington Post)

Why is the Ukrainian Donbass a target for Russian forces?

Other Western countries also moved to provide Ukraine with more advanced weapons as the war developed. Britain pledged in April a defense support package worth about $130 million, including… More anti-tank missilesAir defense systems and non-lethal equipment. Norway announced Wednesday that it will do so Donate 100 Mistral air defense missiles In addition to the light anti-armor weapons that I promised late last month. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said Tuesday that his government will send “heavier” military equipment soon.

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Beyond that, the Australian government has begun sending Bushmasters to Kyiv after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky Requested Lawmakers in Canberra Armored Corps last month. Canberra said the promised Bushmaster family clan would protect Ukrainians from explosives, artillery shrapnel and small arms fire.

Ukraine will require future arms deliveries if it is to fight Russia, and analysts say 40,000 rounds Washington promised would last no more than two weeks on the battlefield. “Quantity is really, really important,” Ryan said. “Although I think the Ukrainians are qualitatively better, they still need a certain mass to repel the Russians.”

Although some equipment – such as Bushmasters – is sophisticated, much of what the West offers is not as sophisticated as the weapons in Russia’s arsenal. (Western leaders insisted that they send easily usable equipment. United States It also pledged to train Ukrainian forces from outside the country to use new weapons.)

Most Western weapons “will not give the Ukrainian army the technological superiority of the Russian army, but will allow it to compensate, at least temporarily, for the lack of military supplies,” Muraviev said.

Karen Deong, Rachel Bennett, and Karon Demirjian contributed to this report.