U.S. officials warn of increasingly “catastrophic” shortage of ammunition, air defenses in Ukraine; urge Congress to pass $61B aid bill
02/29/2024 // Belle Carter // Views

As the foreign aid package bill remains stuck in Congress, two U.S. officials who requested to be anonymous, warned of the catastrophic effects of the high-profile delays in the delivery of additional weaponry to Ukraine.

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky has been appealing to the Western powers for further support. Citing two anonymous U.S. officials, ABC News recently reported that Ukraine will face a "catastrophic shortage of ammunition and air defenses" by the end of next month unless Congress passes a bill including the next round of funding for Kyiv, valued at $61 billion. As per estimates, the current shortage "could effectively turn the tide of the war and lend Russian President Vladimir Putin a significant advantage."

One of the senior military bigwigs remarked: "The juncture starts now and it just keeps getting worse progressively through the spring and into summer. So, this period that we are entering is … critical,"  especially since the Russians have successfully taken over Avdiivka in the eastern Donetsk region. There is a great possibility that they could get to other areas if more weapons, especially artillery ammunition, don't arrive soon. (Related: Kyiv is running out of ammunition as Western aid packages hit roadblocks.)

Earlier in February, U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan warned that the Ukrainian troops were running out of ammunition and urged Congress to pass additional funding. President Joe Biden has blamed congressional inaction. He said that not passing the "spending bill" was what was responsible for "Russia's first notable gains in months. U.S. National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby also alerted that Avdiivka was at risk of falling to Russian hands because the U.S. had "not been able to provide Ukraine with the artillery shells that they desperately need to disrupt these Russian assaults."

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The U.S. government also criticized Iran for supporting Russia. In a memo shared with Reuters, U.S. Deputy Press Secretary and Senior Communications Adviser Andrew Bates said that Tehran was "actively enabling Russia's war in Ukraine and its attacks against Ukrainian cities." Speaking at a virtual briefing with reporters, Kirby said that he was yet to see confirmation that Iranian missiles had been delivered to Russia, although the signs are that this is, at least, imminent. The Biden administration has meanwhile warned Tehran of a "swift and severe" response if those weapons are shipped to Russia. Putin's people had also begun to receive "hundreds” of Iranian ballistic missiles, according to reports, to bolster its dwindling ballistic missile arsenal, which has already wrought considerable destruction on Ukraine.

Meanwhile, Ukrainians denied that their forces had lost control of Krynky, a bridgehead on the Russian-occupied side of the Dnipro River. The Ukrainian Armed Forces claim that Russian forces assaulted Krynky but suffered "significant losses" and retreated.

Germany, Poland and NATO will no longer send troops to Ukraine

Amid the Kremlin's warning of possible escalation if the nations continue to aid Zelensky's troops, Germany, Poland and NATO decided against sending ground troops to Ukraine. The decision was made when French President Emmanuel Macron raised the prospect following a European leaders' meeting on boosting support for Ukraine in its war against Russia.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said participants of the conference in Paris discussed the matter but had agreed "that there will be no ground troops, no soldiers on Ukrainian soil who are sent there by European states or NATO states," adding that there was consensus "that soldiers operating in our countries also are not participating actively in the war themselves." Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk and Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala also said they were not considering sending troops. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg also told the Associated Press that while members of the alliance had provided "unprecedented support" to Ukraine, "there are no plans for NATO combat troops on the ground in Ukraine."

Putin's regime, meanwhile, warned that a direct conflict with NATO would be inevitable if the alliance sent combat troops. "The very fact of discussing the possibility of sending certain contingents to Ukraine from NATO countries is a very important new element," Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters. "It is absolutely not in the interests of European members of NATO," Peskov said. "In that case, we would need to talk not about the probability, but about the inevitability of direct conflict."

Read more stories on the ongoing and escalating conflict between Ukraine and Russia on RussiaReport.news.

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