Thu. Apr 25th, 2024

As Russia pushes forward, Ukrainian soldiers say U.S. aid delays have left them exposed

By 37ci3 Feb20,2024



These needs are already felt.

“Ammunition stoppages affect us a lot on the battlefield,” said Miro Popovych, a US Army veteran who fought in the Kherson region of southern Ukraine. Popovich, 34, said his unit came under intense artillery fire for two hours a few weeks ago, but Ukrainian forces were unable to counter it.

He thinks it’s because of a shortage of ammunition. “We survived, but it’s a little disappointing that the enemy can do things like that with impunity,” Popovich said.

“It would be great if American politicians would stop using Ukraine in campaign games and just help prevent this great evil,” he added.

Dara Massicot, senior fellow in the Russia and Eurasia program at the Carnegie Endowment in Washington, said the most pressing need right now is artillery shells.

Another soldier serving in the infantry in the eastern Donbas region said that Ukrainian forces rely heavily on supplies from the West and know that the difficult future they face with this support is in doubt.

“Imagine a man is injured in a car accident,” said a private who went by the call sign “Tatarin”.

“You have a choice to help this person or to wait a little while until the medics arrive and this person has every minute chance of survival,” he said.. “It’s the same here. You can think about it for a week or two, but all this costs the lives of soldiers on the front line.”

The battle for Avdiivka – and beyond

The struggle facing Ukraine was manifested in the battle for the small eastern town of Avdiivka, which became a major flash point of the war over the winter.

The two sides fought for months over the devastated city, but Russian forces captured it over the weekend. Avdiivka’s fall marks a major victory for Putin at a time when Western support is waning, and before him re-election next month. It also extends Russian control over Ukraine’s eastern industrial heartland, where Avdiivka serves as the main city of Donetsk.

Last week, Kiev appeared determined to continue fighting in the city, with street-to-street fighting continuing and one of its best-trained and battle-hardened units being brought in as an extra. But on Saturday, the country’s new commander-in-chief, Colonel-General Oleksandr Syrskyi, said he was withdrawing troops to avoid encirclement and “to protect the lives and health of military personnel.

Artillery Sergeant Andriy Avdiivka was there in October after the fighting escalated.

Like others NBC News spoke to, he said Ukraine’s troop numbers were depleted and supplies were short before the withdrawal. “We have almost no ammunition,” said Andriy, who was also not authorized to speak publicly.

Artillery has been crucial throughout the war, but some soldiers told NBC News that they now face limitations that limit the duration and quality of fire, leaving defensive positions vulnerable and severely outgunned by Russian units with neither supplies nor soldiers.



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