Ukraine War: US gives Kiev another $1 billion in weapons – 06/15/2022 – World

Amid growing cries from the government of Volodymyr Zelensky about the risk of Ukraine losing the war to Russia due to the lack of heavy weapons, the United States reacted in the conventional way: with a phone call from President Joe Biden to the Ukrainian to promise more aid. military.

In this case, the biggest single package so far since the war started, 112 days ago. There will be US$ 1 billion (R$ 5 billion this Wednesday, 15) in artillery, including two unprecedented Harpoon coastal defense systems, to threaten the Russian Black Sea Fleet.

Kiev had received one of these systems from Denmark, which went into operation last week. With them and their Ukrainian copies, the Neptune models, which according to the country sank the Russian cruiser Moskva in April, Moscow vessels in the region are at greater risk, although they continue to block grain exports from their neighbor.

According to Biden, the US will also supply 18 howitzers with 36,000 shells, miscellaneous equipment and “advanced rocket systems”, without specifying what they are. It is also unclear whether the aid is already part of the $20 billion package approved by the US Congress with the prospect of a long war. Zelensky thanked the American.

Earlier this month, Washington announced the delivery of four medium-range missile launchers, drawing escalating criticism from Moscow.

These artillery pieces are central to trying to prevent the imminent loss of Lugansk province to Vladimir Putin’s forces. With the virtual fall of the city of Severodonetsk, the Russians will be in a position to attack the rest of the Donbass region — eastern Ukraine, made up of Lugansk and Donetsk, which is the declared objective of the war at this point.

There will hardly be time for the most immediate reaction, given that multiple launchers require five weeks of training to use. The British promised three other similar armaments.

If this caused protest in Moscow, in Kiev the words have since been one of revolt. Zelensky says every other day that the war will be lost in Donbass without more heavy material. His Ministry of Defense even presented its wish list last week: 1,000 howitzers (it has received 109 so far), 300 launchers (promise of 7 for now) and NATO-standard ammunition, the western military alliance.

There is a political component, which is to pressure Europeans not to give in to political fatigue with confrontation, already measured among their citizens. NATO is expected to play its part in the summit scheduled for the end of this month, in Madrid.

The new American weapons will add to the $5.3 billion (R$ 26.8 billion) already sent in military aid by Washington to Kiev since the beginning of hostilities, equivalent to somewhere between a third and a half of all that NATO and allies have already sent to the Ukrainians. Ukraine’s 2021 defense budget was $4 billion (£20 billion), including personnel payments.

In the initial phase of the war, successful in stopping an ambitious and ill-planned attack by the Russians on several fronts, Kiev relied on Western light weapons: anti-tank missiles that wreaked havoc on unprotected armored columns and portable anti-aircraft models.

Since the start of the Battle of Donbass on 18 April, with the bulk of Moscow’s forces concentrated in the east and room for attrition and manoeuvre, artillery is what the camp asks for. Last week, Kiev said it was virtually out of ammunition of its own, older Soviet models, and was reliant on NATO help to continue the fight.

Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vassili Nebenzia said on Wednesday that the announcement proves the West is “fighting a proxy war in Ukraine” with the corresponding risk of escalation.

Biden and allies have so far refused to intervene directly and are trying to limit the offensive potential by providing weapons on the condition that Russian territory is not attacked. Fear is the risk of a Third World War.

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