Photo: The Armed Forces of Ukraine use American howitzers M777
Source: Ministry of Defense of Ukraine
The context of the Russian-Ukrainian war has changed dramatically in the last month. Ukraine successfully continues the strategic defense operation. In the Kharkiv region, the Armed Forces of Ukraine launched a counteroffensive and reached the state border, thereby jeopardizing the supply routes of the Izyum group of the aggressor. Now, not only the Ukrainian people set ambitious goals in the war for independence, but also the Ukrainian top political leadership. In February and March, it was about preserving the independence of Ukraine, the withdrawal of Russian troops to the territories they occupied before February 24, and compensation for the damage caused. However, now Ukrainian leadership aims the full restoration of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders. Such a scenario, according to Dmitry Kuleba, is possible if the Armed Forces of Ukraine win the battle for Donbas.
Russia's original plan to encircle the Ukrainian group in the East has been gradually reduced. The Armed Forces of Ukraine rebuffed the aggressor in the Kharkiv region, halted the offensive in the South, in the area of Gulyaipole and Orikhiv. In the southeast, Russian troops were unable to advance towards Pokrovsk either from Kurakhovo and from Avdiivka. The enemy had some success in the Severodonetsk direction. At the cost of heavy losses, the Russians forced the Armed Forces of Ukraine to leave Popasna. Now the Russian Federation will probably try to capture Severodonetsk and reach the administrative border of the Luhansk region. The aggressor's appetites have narrowed significantly due to the resistance of the Ukrainian defenders.
Nonetheless, Russia still has the initiative and large forces to attack, so the potential of its armed forces should not be underestimated. The battle for Donbas will soon determine the further development of the Russian-Ukrainian war, and the Armed Forces must be provided with all the necessary weapons in order to stop the Russian offensive and to have the ability to counterattack in the East and South. An important step in this regard could be the US-approved Land Lease Program and the $ 40 billion financial program for military and humanitarian support. The Land Lease Act allows the President of the United States not to coordinate aid with Congress every time. This significantly speeds up the transfer of arms and other assistance Ukraine needs. The sooner additional weapons are brought to the front, the more effective the work of the Armed Forces will be. Today this speed significantly determines further development of the war.
According to the U.S. director of national intelligence, Avril Haines, President Putin is preparing for a prolonged conflict in Ukraine during which he still intends to achieve goals beyond the Donbas. Under such conditions, the economic factor and the ability to ensure the functioning of the state becomes no less important than the conduct of hostilities. Lend-lease takes this aspect into account. As Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine Andriy Yermak noted: “If we recall the history of World War II, in addition to tanks and aircraft, the United States sent machine tools, locomotives, armoured steel, and canned food to the USSR. Now, in addition to weapons, other assistance is also possible, including the materials we need, which we will agree on”, the head of the OP added.
The 40 billion financial aid program, which is directly related to Lend-Lease, specifies separate items for which these funds can be used. Specifically, the package includes $6 billion in security assistance, it will cover training, equipment, weapons and support; $8.7 billion to replenish stocks of US equipment already sent to Ukraine, and $3.9 billion for European Command operations.
In addition, the legislation authorizes a further $11 billion in Presidential Drawdown Authority, which allows the president to authorize the transfer of articles and services from U.S. stocks without congressional approval in response to an emergency. Biden had asked for $5 billion. $4 billion in foreign military funding to support Ukraine and other war-torn countries as well as $900 million to support refugees were also allocated. The new aid package also includes $5 billion in humanitarian aid to address food security problems around the world due to the war and nearly $9 billion for Ukraine's economic support fund.
Lend-Lease simplifies the procedure for using the above-mentioned funds and minimizes the bureaucratic procedures for providing assistance to Ukraine. The forward positions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine gradually receive new weapons: armoured vehicles, drones, artillery, etc. A formation using 155 mm M777 howitzers has already been formed as part of one of the artillery units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The battery is called "Scythians".
According to the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, training is currently underway on the M113 armoured personnel carrier, which is already in service with Ukrainian infantry. "All units are now improving their offensive skills. Only by carrying out a professional and prepared attack on the Russian occupation forces will we be able to liberate our land from the enemy”, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine stated. It is significant that the military command emphasizes the intention to use delivered technique in the offensive. Ukraine needs American military support to liberate the entire occupied territory.
The process is delayed due to the need to train personnel capable of using the provided equipment. Currently, the training of the Ukrainian military is carried out by American instructors in Germany and other places in Europe. According to Oleksiy Reznikov, more than 1.5 thousand Ukrainian military are already learning or will begin to master the equipment of partners in the coming days. They will return as instructors. Someone, like artillerymen, will immediately go into battle.
The battle for Donbas continues. The Russian Federation failed to fulfil its primary tasks and its short-term goal now is the capture of Severodonetsk. Since Ukraine inflicts heavy losses on the RF Armed Forces, their potential will decrease. At the same time, the potential of the Armed Forces of Ukraine will increase, the adopted Lend-Lease initiative is one of the reasons behind it. Joseph Biden signed this document on May 9, thus adding symbolism. The United States is ready to put more and more pressure on Russia, while Ukraine is ready to fight by the time the territorial integrity is restored. There is no winning scenario for Russia in this war, the country has lost it already.
However, the war continues and its terms are also dependent on the timely delivery of the necessary weapons. Ukraine has already received a number of positions, but some of the necessary equipment has not yet been transferred, such as more modern fighter jets or American MLRS. Given the evolution of the position of the United States and partner countries during the war, there is a high probability, the moment will come when the appropriate decision will be made. It should be remembered that the lives of Ukrainians depend on the speed of decision-making during this war, and therefore some Ukrainian pilots already need to be trained to fly aircraft that can be potentially transferred to Ukraine.
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