Ukraine running out of vital weapons – FT
Ukraine is exhausting its supplies of munitions and spare parts for the Soviet-era S-300 and Buk air defense systems used to counter Russian strikes on the nation’s energy infrastructure, the Financial Times reported on Tuesday, citing a senior Ukrainian military official.
The Ukrainian Air Force’s chief spokesperson, Colonel Yury Ignat, told the outlet that his air defense units usually fire two S-300 or Buk missiles at every Russian projectile to raise the chances of interception. This poses certain challenges, however, since it is impossible for Ukraine to procure additional missiles for these systems, which are produced in Russia. Meanwhile, finding the available stocks elsewhere has proven difficult, the report says.
Ignat went on to state that while Kiev is receiving modern air defense systems from its Western backers, Ukraine would need “hundreds” of such weapons to replace its aging arsenal.
“We have no other choice but to switch to these types of weapons since the Soviet weapons of the 70s and 80s are both… obsolete and the enemy is exhausting them every day,” he said.
Russia started targeting Ukrainian energy facilities in early October after accusing Kiev of attacking its critical infrastructure, including the strategic Crimean Bridge. The latest wave of Russian missile attacks came on December 5 after Ukrainian drones targeted Russian airfields in Saratov and Ryazan Regions, killing three service members and injuring four others.
Kiev has repeatedly asked Western countries to supply it with air defense capabilities. On Monday, the Group of Seven (G7), which includes Kiev’s most prominent Western backers, signaled that they plan to put “an immediate focus on providing Ukraine with air defense systems.”
However, on Sunday, the EU's foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, said that the bloc’s security assistance to Kiev had depleted its stockpiles. The US is apparently experiencing the same issues, with CNN reporting last month that the Department of Defense is running low on some advanced weapons systems and munitions to give to Kiev.
Moscow has repeatedly warned the West that arms shipments to Ukraine would only prolong the conflict. Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the West had de-facto turned Ukraine into “a colony” and is using Ukrainians “as cannon fodder” and a battering ram against Russia while supplying Kiev with weapons.