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28 Nov, 2023 09:52

West broke promise to Ukraine – EU state’s president

Kiev never received adequate supplies of artillery ammunition and long-range missiles, Petr Pavel has claimed
West broke promise to Ukraine – EU state’s president

The West’s failure to provide Ukraine with enough weapons to continue its conflict with Russia is hampering Kiev’s ability to conduct large-scale military operations, Czech President Petr Pavel has said.

In an interview with Italy’s Corriere della Sera newspaper on Monday, the Czech leader accused the West of not doing enough to back Ukraine’s faltering counteroffensive to reclaim former territories from Russia.

“Unfortunately… we have not kept our promises to supply the Ukrainians with artillery ammunition, training for the F-16 [fighter jets] is not proceeding as fast as it should,” said Pavel, who is a former NATO general.

He added that while France and the UK have provided Kiev with long-range Storm Shadow missiles – which Russian officials say have been used to target civilian infrastructure – Germany has so far been slow to follow suit and send its own long-range Taurus rockets.

“This creates an imbalance in deliveries and the uncertainty on the Ukrainian side is not a good basis for military planning,” the Czech president stated.

Pavel also recalled his July warning that Ukraine had essentially only one shot at mounting a major counteroffensive, both because it was “expensive, demanding, [and] time-consuming,” and due to political considerations.

“My reasoning was based on the observation that next year there will be elections in Russia, in the United States, and potentially also in Ukraine,” he stated. Pavel suggested that the upcoming winter will be “extremely difficult” for Ukraine due to extensive damage to infrastructure caused by Russian strikes.

Countries will also become more reluctant to support Ukraine as “the sense of frustration will grow,” the Czech leader claimed, adding that “naturally, this creates a situation that is not very favorable for the continuation of counteroffensive operations.” 

According to Pavel, winter will give Russia time to recover and rebuild its army, having already significantly increased its military production.

The Ukrainian counteroffensive has been underway since early June but has failed to make any substantial progress, despite being bolstered by a large amount of NATO equipment.

In late October, Moscow claimed Kiev had lost more than 90,000 troops since the start of the offensive, with Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu saying that Ukraine’s casualties had reached more than 13,000 soldiers in November alone.

Valery Zaluzhny, Ukraine’s top general, recently said hostilities had reached a World War I-style stalemate, with numerous Ukrainian officials blaming their difficulties on delays in Western arms deliveries, which have allowed Moscow to set up formidable defenses.