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Ukraine Appeals for More Air Defense Systems as Russian Missile Attacks Intensify.

| Defense News Army 2024

With the recent aerial attacks by Russian Forces with ballistic and cruise missiles, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy requested on March 21, 2024, via its X Account more air defense systems and artillery ammunition. The Ukrainian forces are now facing the risk of running out of ground-to-air munitions, while they are already struggling to resupply with 152 and 155 mm artillery shells.
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Russian forces continue to conduct massive aerial attacks on Ukrainian territory. (Picture source Video Footage Russian MoD)

According to confidential sources cited by the Washington Post, Ukrainian forces recently shot down four out of five missiles aimed at a major city. If no action is taken by the end of March, this ratio will drop to one out of five missiles.

"The Ukrainian policymakers have informed European and American officials that the ammunition for some of their anti-missile defense systems might be nearly depleted by the end of March 2024," the Washington Post reported. This situation led Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to appeal to Kyiv's Western partners on March 2nd.

"We need more air defense from our partners. We must strengthen the Ukrainian air shield to better protect our people from Russian terrorism. More air defense systems and more missiles for these systems save lives," said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

However, the United States is currently unable to supply the interceptor missiles used by the air defense systems it has provided to Ukraine, due to a lack of agreement in Congress to unlock $60 billion in military aid for Kyiv. Europe faces a similar situation, but the reasons are more related to industrial production capacities.

An adviser to President Zelensky, quoted by the Washington Post, expressed concern that Russia might achieve "significant territorial gains" if Ukrainian forces do not receive the needed support. "People do not understand how difficult the front is right now. [...] Morale is low, momentum is weak. Young men are afraid of being mobilized to die, due to a lack of weapons," he said.

CIA Director William J. Burns echoed this sentiment during a Congressional hearing last week. "Without American aid, Ukrainian territorial losses could be significant. Time is of the essence," he warned.

As Ukrainian commanders confided to the German weekly Der Spiegel, units on the front line are now forced to manage with a shortage of ammunition and equipment, some having just enough to maintain their current positions. This could thin out their defenses in certain areas, risking an advantage to Russian forces.

In a situation report published on March 13, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) assessed that Russian forces now have the initiative "across the entire theater" and will be "able to determine the timing, location, and scale of their offensive operations" as long as they maintain it.

"The statements of Ukrainian Commander-in-ChiefGeneral Oleksandr Syrskyi suggest that an intensification of Russian offensive operations in an area where Ukrainian forces have not been prioritized for ammunition resupply could lead to a Russian breakthrough," concludes the ISW. This comes with the hope that Western military aid, particularly from the United States, may arrive in time.

Defense News March 2024

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