West blamed for Ukraine’s counteroffensive shortcomings
Kiev hasn’t received enough military assistance from the West to succeed in its counteroffensive against Russia, a joint investigation led by a Ukrainian news outlet has claimed. Some EU member states acted too slowly and selfishly to produce and ship enough supplies, the probe, which was funded by Brussels, has found.
The scathing report, released this week by several media organizations, including the Western-backed outlet the Kyiv Independent, claimed that Ukraine did not have the means to meet “the world’s high expectations” for the operation.
The outlets detailed problems that Ukrainian troops are facing in their fight against Russia. A shortage of munitions has been a key factor behind Russia’s superiority in artillery, they said.
Kiev attempted to boost domestic production of shells for Soviet-standard guns before the hostilities broke out last year, but the efforts were derailed by alleged corruption and poor manufacturing standards.
Foreign supplies, provided by the US and its allies, came with a range of issues. Western nations ran out of old Soviet stockpiles and depleted the reserves of NATO-standard munitions as they funneled assistance to Ukraine. A NATO inventory review in November found shortages in the two calibers most used by Ukraine.
“Some member states had no idea how much stock they had and had to count it manually,” an official involved in the count told the outlet.
The EU was slow to ramp up military production and still cannot meet Kiev’s demands, according to the investigation.
“Ukraine is using at least five times as much ammunition as the EU members are able to produce,” the Kyiv Independent concluded.
The report specifically called out French President Emmanuel Macron for putting his nation’s interests ahead of those of Ukraine.
“France’s policy is similar to that of the Americans. First, we take care of our own supplies, then we help others,” a French official explained, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Overall, “national protectionism, misjudgment, and indecisiveness among EU countries have obstructed the bloc from finding a swift and collective approach to tackling [Ukraine’s] ammunition shortages,” the report said.
Ukrainian soldiers told investigators that they had compatibility issues with European supplies. One mortar unit had to manually trim the fins of Finnish 120mm shells so they could fit into the Italian Mod. 63 mortars provided to them, which technically have the same caliber.
Others complained that many Western weapons lacked advanced targeting systems, which could theoretically help to conserve munitions.
Ukrainian officials previously blamed insufficient Western assistance for their failure to conduct a counteroffensive against Russia.