December 3, 2023

Ukraine remains highly dependent on Russian-made weapons and will need to turn to other countries outside NATO to secure enough Soviet-era arms and ammunition to continue its war against Moscow, according to a new report.

Eastern European countries in NATO have already delivered most of their reserve systems of Soviet origin to Ukraine, but there are untapped supplies of weapons manufactured in Russia around the world, including countries that have openly supported Kyiv, according to a report by the Center for Defense Research in Democracies. .

The think tank said the United States and other Western countries should help Ukraine gain access to those Soviet-made weapons, including artillery shells, air defense systems and armored vehicles.

Although Washington has scoured NATO allies’ stockpiles and the Pentagon has explored other potential options, a comprehensive research focused on non-NATO nations reveals a robust supply of untapped Soviet and Russian-made weapons (and accompanying spare parts and ammunition) Washington could help Kyiv to get it quickly.

The Foundation for Defense of Democracies calls itself a nonpartisan, nonprofit think tank focused on national security. She tends to support a hardline stance in foreign policy, and has been highly critical of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

The think tank’s report identified more than 6,300 non-NATO related weapons systems in use or in use by Ukraine prior to the February 24 Russian invasion, including Mi-17 helicopters, T-8 tanks and M-14 artillery pieces.

The arms are located in 23 countries, including South Korea, Colombia, Argentina and Kenya.

Countries listed in the report as potential arms donors met at least one of the following criteria: voted in favor of a UN resolution calling for Russia’s withdrawal from Ukraine, voted to suspend Russia from the UN Human Rights Council, or attended a meeting. The Ukrainian Defense Contact Group, led by the United States.

The think tank said the United States and its European allies could consider offering future arms sales or trade-offs with countries supplying Ukraine with Russian-made weapons, other diplomatic or economic incentives, or simply purchasing Soviet-standard systems outright. The report said some countries might prefer to keep their aid to Ukraine “out of the spotlight”.

said Bradley Bowman, one of the report’s authors and a former national security advisor to members of the Senate Armed Services and Foreign Relations committees.

“Time is of the essence and the stakes are incredibly high,” said Bowman, now senior director of the Center for Military and Political Power at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

Ukraine warned that it was facing a shortage of ammunition for its Soviet artillery and that it was still superior to Russian forces that launched relentless bombing attacks in an offensive in the east. Moreover, Ukraine’s ability to repair and maintain its military equipment has likely been undermined by Russian missile attacks targeting production sites, according to a report by the Congressional Research Service.

In another setback for Ukraine, Russia took control of the eastern city of Lyschansk in recent days, giving Moscow de facto control of Luhansk Province.

The White House National Security Council and the State Department did not respond to requests for comment.

An administration official said the United States is reaching out to countries inside and outside NATO to supply Ukraine with Soviet-era military equipment and Russia, and non-NATO countries have pledged assistance at organized meetings to mobilize military support for Kiev.

“For several months, the United States has been working with allies and partners to facilitate the transfer of Soviet-era equipment,” the official said. It was part of our two-way conversation with countries around the world. “

Experts say US and Western weapons being delivered to Ukraine, including howitzers, drones and the High Mobility Artillery Missile System, or HIMARS, are making a difference on the battlefield. Mark Montgomery, a retired US Navy admiral who served in the US European Command and is now with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said many of the new systems require training, and Ukraine still relies heavily on its Russian-origin equipment.

“More than 80 percent of their equipment is still from the Soviet era,” he said.

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