The U.S. arms lend-lease is over, and Western weapons and money are running out: how does Ukraine plan to fight russia?
In October, the U.S. Land-Lease Act for Ukraine officially expired, and NATO warns that the West has almost exhausted its military aid. Find out whether support for Ukraine will continue and what additional options the government has
Ukraine is currently experiencing tension not only because of the difficult situation at the front, but also in the international arena. In particular, the deterioration of relations with Poland and Slovakia exacerbates the situation. In addition, internal changes in the United States, in particular, the suspension of Speaker McCarthy, which has put the issue of financial support for Ukraine on hold, add to the anxiety. And according to the head of EU diplomacy, Josep Borrell, the EU cannot replace this support. According to Yevropeiska Pravda, he said this at the summit of the European Political Community in Spain.
It is also important that, according to recent statements by Admiral Rob Bauer, head of NATO's military committee, during a meeting at the Warsaw Security Forum, NATO member states are running out of weapons and ammunition that they can transfer to Ukraine without risking their own security. According to CNN, Bauer noted that the stockpile is "already at the bottom of the barrel."
Are NATO's stockpiles of weapons and ammunition exhausted?
NATO member states are indeed experiencing a shortage of weapons that could be allocated to Ukraine.
"We are giving Ukraine weapons systems and ammunition, which is great, but we are not giving them from full warehouses. We started giving them out of warehouses that were half full or less, and those stocks are now running out," Bauer said. "We need large volumes. The system that we have built together for 30 years in our liberal economies is suitable for many things, but not for the armed forces when there is a war," he added.
At the same time, James Hippey, Minister of the Armed Forces at the UK Ministry of Defense, also notes that despite the obvious problem with weapons stockpiles, military assistance to Ukraine should continue "today, tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, and so on, day after day." According to him, the West needs to significantly increase production.
In addition, Pentagon spokesman Michael McCord, in a letter to congressional leaders, noted that Western support for Ukraine's current needs "is vital and urgent right now." He also emphasized that the West's inability to "ensure timely procurement and delivery could disrupt important Ukrainian operations to reclaim its territory or defend itself in the event of future russian offensives."
It is unclear how the events will unfold, as the West fully understands that Ukraine needs both military and financial assistance, but new production is just beginning to pick up.
Is the US land-lending program for Ukraine over?
"Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act of 2022" was supposed to officially expire in October 2023. However, the question arises as to whether the bill, which entered into force in May 2022, has been implemented.
So far, all military assistance provided by the United States to Ukraine has been implemented under completely different programs. In particular:
- Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI)4
- Foreign Military Financing (FMF);
- Replenishment of U.S. weapons stockpiles or PDA (Presidential Drawdown).
Representatives of the U.S. and Ukrainian authorities officially recognized that the lend-lease was only a "backup" option, and, in fact, the signed law was not used during this year and a half.
This law allowed US President Joe Biden to transfer weapons to Ukraine even if Congress refused to allocate funds from the budget for the first three programs (which are free for Ukraine, while the country would have to pay for the land deal). In other words, Ukraine could have received the necessary weapons and equipment in the current situation, but Kyiv and Washington did not sign any additional agreements that would clarify the scope and conditions of the supply of weapons under the lend-lease until the law expired.
However, according to former Ukrainian Ambassador to the United States Valeriy Chaly for BBC Ukraine, the draft US defense budget for 2024 contains an amendment to extend the lend-lease, so it is likely that this issue could be revisited.
Iranian weapons for the AUF: what is known?
According to CNN, the United States was preparing to transfer hundreds of thousands of pieces of ammunition and weapons confiscated in Iran to Ukraine. And on October 2, the US Central Command (Centcom) reported that "the US government has transferred about 1.1 million rounds of 7.62 mm ammunition to the Armed Forces of Ukraine."
This became possible after the United States filed a lawsuit against the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, whose unit was involved in a number of terrorist acts, including the downing of a Ukrainian civilian plane over Tehran in January 2020.
The ammunition was confiscated by the United States Navy from the MARWAN1 ship, and in July 2023, the country officially took ownership of the confiscated ammunition.
At the same time, it is known that russia is using Iranian 122-mm HE-FRAG missiles of the Arash family for volley fire from Grad in the war against Ukraine. This was reported by Bild, citing experts from the Ukraine Weapons Tracker project who spotted them on an official video by the russian Ministry of Defense.
Ukraine is in great need of artillery shells, but they were not among the Iranian small arms ammunition transferred.
Weapons shortage: how will Ukraine address this issue?
Despite its rather shaky situation and unclear prospects, Ukraine is actively working to increase the production of its own defense industry. This is evidenced by both the budget for 2024 and recent statements by Ukraine and its Western partners about establishing joint production.
In particular, the joint production of air defense systems with the United States, ASCOD combat vehicles with General Dynamics, CV-90 infantry fighting vehicles and L119 howitzers with Swedish BAE Systems, etc. is currently being discussed. In addition, a joint venture to repair tanks has already been implemented, which may even produce them in the future.
In addition, the strategy for overcoming corruption in Ukraine and speedy European integration developed in the United States also includes plans to increase the capacity of the country's defense sector.
Thus, strengthening the country's own industrial sector is one of the options for solving the problem of arms shortage, which is already being actively implemented in Ukraine. In addition, the country is actively working on its own production of drones, which, as practice has shown, also play a crucial role in this war. It also became known about the successful modernization of Soviet S-200 missiles.
We remind you! Ukrainian Special Forces inflicted significant damage on the occupiers as part of new operations. Read more about the results of the raid in Crimea and the consequences of the blackout in the Kursk region in our previous article.
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06 Oct. 2023More details
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