Lack of relevant experience means that Kiev’s forces cannot use advanced Western weapons systems, foreign policy has learned
Ukraine’s forces have received less training in recent weeks, affecting their ability to use certain advanced weapons systems, the Foreign Policy (FP) reported on Friday, citing sources.
Since the launch of Russia’s military offensive in the neighboring country at the end of February, Ukraine has constantly asked its Western partners to provide them with more heavy weapons and to do so as quickly as possible. But as a senior U.S. defense official told the FP, “the drum beat faster, faster, faster” does not always work well because “the Ukrainians needed the training to be able to use these systems effectively.”
At the same time, the Ukrainian officials referred to by the FP on the one hand complained about the “too slow” pace of Western aid but acknowledged on the other hand that “in addition to training for HIMARS (High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems) and Western artillery, military training for their troops have dropped in recent weeks, making them unable to use more advanced systems. “
“For [Ukrainians], it will always be too little and too late, for natural reasons. But sending things without education and logistics is a sure way that they will not have a lifespan “, commented Oscar Jonsson, researcher at the Swedish National Defense College, about the matter, according to FP.
According to the newspaper, Western officials are now “unclear” about what system they can provide next to Kyiv.
“It may take months to train Ukrainians to fly F-15 and F-16 jets, although Ukrainian military officials insist that many of their pilots are currently on the sidelines without enough planes to fly, allowing them to leave the country. to train. “, the report says.
The Foreign Policy article was published the same day the Pentagon announced an additional $ 820 million military aid package to Ukraine, including two ground-to-air missile defense systems.
The new deliveries will include ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), two National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS), up to 150,000 cartridges of 155 mm artillery ammunition and four additional counter-artillery radars. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky expressed his gratitude to the United States and personally to President Joe Biden for the package, and especially for the NASAMS system, which in his view could “significantly strengthen” Ukrainian air defense.
At the end of June, Britain said it would provide Kyiv with “sophisticated air defense systems”, drones, electronic warfare equipment and “thousands of pieces of vital kits” worth £ 1 billion ($ 1.2 billion). The announcement came less than two weeks after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson offered Ukraine a major training program for his troops, “with the potential to train up to 10,000 soldiers every 120 days.”
Russia has repeatedly called on the West not to provide weapons to Kyiv, saying it will only prolong the conflict and lead to long-term problems. It has warned that Russian forces will consider all foreign weapons on Ukrainian territory as a legitimate target. Earlier this week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that “pumping up” Ukraine with Western weapons would only lead to Russia “carrying out more missions on the ground”.
Russia sent troops into Ukraine on February 24, citing Kiev’s failure to implement the Minsk agreements, designed to give the Donetsk and Lugansk regions special status within the Ukrainian state. The protocols, mediated by Germany and France, were first signed in 2014. Former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has since acknowledged that Kiev’s main goal was to use the ceasefire to buy time and “create powerful armed forces”.
In February 2022, the Kremlin recognized the Donbass Republics as independent states and demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join any Western military bloc. Kyiv insists that the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked.