Friday, July 8, 2022

Ukraine Says Western Weapons Begin to Help as It Raises Flag on Snake Island; What It Will Take to Supply Ukraine for the Long Haul; Outgunned but defiant, Ukrainian twin cities' defenders ready for Russian attack; Why Russian Tanks Are Exploding in Ukraine, LIVE UPDATES and MORE

Emanuele Satolli for The Wall Street Journal
Ukraine Says Western Weapons Begin to Help as It Raises Flag on Snake Island:
President Zelensky urges speedy air-defense deliveries to protect Ukraine against Russian missile strikes
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said that Western heavy weapons are starting to have an effect on the battlefield but urged speedier deliveries, particularly of antiaircraft systems, as Russia continued lobbing missiles into Ukrainian cities.
While heavy fighting continued in the eastern Donbas region, Ukrainian troops disembarked on the contested Snake Island in the Black Sea and planted a Ukrainian flag on it for the first time since Russia seized the island in February, according to footage posted Thursday by Kyiv.
Russian forces withdrew from Snake Island last week, after coming under long-range missile and artillery barrages that were enabled by Western military supplies. The island controls shipping lanes in the Black Sea that Ukraine hopes to reopen to export its agricultural goods.
It wasn’t clear whether any Ukrainian personnel remained on the tiny island after reclaiming it. Two Russian missiles struck Snake Island’s landing pier Thursday, according to the Ukrainian regional administration. Russia’s Defense Ministry said its aircraft killed some of the Ukrainian troops on the island while the rest fled to the mainland near Odessa. Ukraine’s military denied Russian claims that any of its soldiers were hit on Snake Island.
The U.S. and allies have sent close to 200 NATO-standard 155 mm howitzers to Ukraine in the past two months, helping offset Russia’s huge firepower advantage, and have started delivering Himars multiple-launch rocket systems that Kyiv in recent days successfully used to strike weapons depots and fuel-storage facilities across Russian-held parts of Donbas.
“We finally feel that the Western artillery that we received from our partners is working very powerfully. Its precision really is at the level that we need,” Mr. Zelensky said in a late Wednesday address. “Our defenders carry out painful strikes against warehouses and other important logistic nodes of the occupiers. And this materially lowers the offensive potential of the Russian army.”
Ukraine, however, has yet to receive sophisticated air-defense systems that it says could protect its cities from Russian missile strikes. --->READ MORE HERE
Photo: Andoni Lubaki/Sipa/Reutere
What It Will Take to Supply Ukraine for the Long Haul:
When Russia invaded Ukraine in February, onlookers imagined a quick rout for Kyiv; then, when Ukraine held out, a humiliating and precipitous defeat for Russia. More than 120 days later, the two countries appear to be locked in a long war of attrition.
Russia can bank on both military and economic advantages as it seeks to deplete Ukraine’s arsenals, starve its citizenry and erode Western support. Whether Ukraine can hold out against this much bigger adversary in a long war appears to depend largely on the sustainability of U.S. military aid.
At a NATO press conference, President Biden affirmed that the U.S. would support Ukraine for “as long as it takes” to secure its victory. Already, the U.S. has provided more than $7.6 billion in security assistance, including air defenses, ammunition, rockets, missiles, loitering munitions, drones, helicopters, communications and intelligence systems. Congress has approved at least another $33 billion in aid.
The U.S. is drawing from a sparse stockpile of weapons, however. Over the last decade, its priority has been to produce the low-yield precision bombs and missiles favored in counterterrorism campaigns, such as those in Afghanistan and Iraq. The U.S. has therefore cut back on producing legacy munitions, including versions of the antitank Javelin and antiaircraft Stinger missiles, and on purchasing more expensive, high-yield smart missiles. Four months of support to Ukraine has already depleted much of the stockpile of such weapons, including a third of the U.S. Javelin arsenal and a quarter of U.S. Stingers.
U.S. stockpiles of artillery ammunition are similarly dwindling. The last three budget cycles have seen cuts in this area, leaving the U.S. without enough ammunition in storage to keep up with a conflict in which the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), Britain’s oldest security think tank, estimates that Russia is firing more than 7,000 artillery rounds a day. RUSI concludes that the artillery ammunition that the U.S. currently produces in a year would last for only 10 days to two weeks of combat in Ukraine. Smart munitions—such as the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMAR) precision-strike missiles, the Tomahawk land attack cruise missile and the joint air to surface stand-off missile—could furnish an alternative, but these, too, are in very short supply. According to RUSI, already “Russia has burned through four times the U.S. annual missile production.” --->READ MORE HERE
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