WASHINGTON (AP) — Ukrainian leaders are pressuring the U.S. and Western allies to provide air defenses and long-range weapons to maintain momentum in the counteroffensive against Russia and counter intensified attacks from Moscow.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Wednesday that allies are committed to “delivering weapons as quickly as possible.” Defence leaders meeting in Brussels are working to send a wide range of systems, from tanks and armoured vehicles to air defences and artillery, he said.
But because of political sensitivities, classified technology or limited stockpiles, Ukraine still needs some high-profile advanced weapons that the United States will not provide.
Take a look at some of the weapons Ukraine will or will not get:
what weapons ukraine is getting
At a meeting this week with about 50 defense leaders, Austin and Army Gen. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley discussed plans to send more air defense weapons to Ukraine and increase training for Ukrainian troops.
“We know Ukraine still needs more long-range firepower, air defenses and artillery systems and other critical capabilities,” Austin said Wednesday. He said the allies talked about some air defense systems.
The United States has provided 20 sets of advanced high-mobility rocket systemsor HIMARS, and commit to 18 more.
The Pentagon has said it will deliver the first two advanced NASAMS The launch of a surface-to-air missile system into Ukraine over the next few weeks provides Kyiv with a weapon it has been seeking since earlier this year. These systems will provide medium- and long-range defenses against Russian missile attacks.
Germany is now delivering its first IRIS-T surface-to-air missile system, which has a range of about 25 miles (40 kilometers). It promises a total of four.
Overall, the United States has provided Ukraine with $16.8 billion in weapons and other aid since the war began on February 2. 24. The assistance included hundreds of armoured vehicles, 142 155mm howitzers and 880,000 rounds of ammunition, as well as thousands of Javelin anti-tank and Stinger anti-aircraft weapons and 60 million rounds of ammunition.
The US did not send any weapons
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has repeatedly made it clear that his country needs more advanced weapons to keep fighting. This week, Russia launched a spate of attacks using drones, heavy artillery and missiles.
Over the weekend, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the attack in response to an explosion on a key bridge linking Russia and Crimea. The Russians are also struggling to repel a fierce counterattack by Ukrainian troops, which have just recaptured five towns and villages in the southern Kherson region. It was illegally annexed by Russia along with the neighboring Zaporozhye region and Donetsk and Luhansk in the east.
However, Zelensky’s requests for certain weapons have so far gone unanswered.
A key requirement is for the Army’s tactical missile system. Known as ATACMS, it is one of the weapons Zelensky has repeatedly requested. This would give Ukraine the ability to strike Russian targets from a distance of up to about 180 miles (300 kilometers).
The system uses the same launchers as the HIMARS rockets successfully used in Kyiv’s counteroffensive, but has three times the range of those rockets.
A major U.S. concern is that long-range capabilities could be used against targets inside Russia and further anger Putin, said Brad Bowman, senior director of the Center for Military and Political Power at the Defense Democracy Foundation. Based on a nonpartisan research organization.
Likewise, the United States is unlikely to send Ukraine a highly sophisticated surface-to-air Patriot missile system capable of shooting down incoming ballistic missiles.
JD Williams, a senior defense researcher at the RAND Corporation, said the Patriots are connected to some of the most sensitive command and control networks in the U.S. and may require U.S. troops on the ground to operate them. The Biden administration has ruled out using U.S. combat forces inside Ukraine.
The United States has only a limited number of these systems.
Zelensky has also pressured the U.S. since March to supply fighter jets such as the F-16, but the U.S. has repeatedly rejected the idea to avoid further escalation with Russia.
The U.S. has so far refused to provide Ukraine with more advanced long-range drones, such as the Gray Eagle, which would also give Ukraine a longer-range strike capability. There are also concerns that Russia will gain access to this advanced technology if anyone is shot down.