Desperate Ukraine says US ‘bureaucracy’ is no excuse for failing to supply critical weapons and ammunition

A monument to Taras Shevchenko is seen near a residential building destroyed by Russian army shelling in Borodyanka, Kyiv region, north-central Ukraine.

Hennadii Minchenko | Nurphoto | Getty Images

WASHINGTON – A Ukrainian delegation warned U.S. officials in Washington this week that security aid packages are not arriving fast enough in the besieged country, a prayer that comes amid Western security claims that the Kremlin will soon intensify its military campaign.

Over the past week, the delegation of Ukrainian civil society activists, military veterans and former government officials met with 45 lawmakers, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, State and Defense Ministry officials and the White House National Security Council.

“This is the 44th day of the war that we were to lose on the third day,” began Daria Kaleniuk, who runs Ukraine’s Anti-Corruption Action Center, a national organization that assists Ukraine’s parliament and prosecution.

“What we need now is to arm our military and our territorial defense units in order to prevent more graves in the backyards of innocent people,” she said Friday.

Kaleniuk added that U.S. lawmakers and officials in the Biden administration outlined a number of reasons why certain weapon systems could not be delivered, citing logistical problems, lack of inventory and bureaucratic constraints.

“The six-year-old boy who is visiting his mother’s grave in his backyard does not want to hear about bureaucracy as an excuse for not supplying weapons to Ukraine,” Kaleniuk said.

“This is an extraordinary situation where extraordinary measures need to be taken. Lift your bureaucracy, lift it now. The President of the United States has enormous power, Congress has enormous power. We know it is possible,” she added.

In the yard of their house, Vlad Tanyuk, 6, stands near the grave of his mother Ira Tanyuk, who died of starvation and stress due to the war, on the outskirts of Kiev, Ukraine, on Monday, April 4, 2022.

Rodrigo Abd | AP

Earlier this week, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba also asked a plea to NATO allies to catalyze the delivery of their weapons commitments.

“Either you are helping us now and I am talking about days not weeks, or your help will come too late,” Kuleba told reporters at NATO headquarters on April 7.

“I have no doubt that Ukraine will have the weapons needed to fight. The issue is the timeline. This discussion is not about the list of weapons. The discussion is about the timeline, when will we get them, and this is crucial, he said, adding “people are dying today, the offensive is unfolding today.”

Asked about Kuleba’s comments, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken downplayed concerns that Allies were withholding weapons that Ukraine had explicitly requested.

“They are coming up with new systems that they think would be useful and effective,” Blinken said at NATO headquarters.

“We use our own expertise, especially the Pentagon, to help determine what we actually think could be effective. What Ukrainians will be ready to use as soon as they get it, and what we actually have access to and can get to them in real time, “he said, adding that the United States is working quickly to obtain appropriate weapons for Ukraine.

Blinken’s comments repeat those of US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the US Army General Mark Milley. Austin and Milley told lawmakers last week that some weapons systems on Ukraine’s wish list require months of training to work.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (L) will meet with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium on 6 April 2022.

Evelyn Hockstein | AFP | Getty Images

“Our point is, give Ukraine what it needs, what it asks for, period,” explained Olena Tregub, Ukraine’s former director of international assistance at the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade.

“We need strike drones, long-range and medium-range attack capabilities, because as we sit here with you, the Russians are moving huge columns, huge forces into the southeastern part of Ukraine,” Tregub said.

Western intelligence reports have recently estimated that Russian forces will soon focus their military power in eastern and southern Ukraine after weeks of halted land operations against the capital Kiev.

For the past six weeks, Russian forces on the ground in Ukraine have been plagued by a number of logistical problems on the battlefield, including reports of fuel and food shortages as well as frostbite.

“When Russia started this war, its original goal was to conquer the capital of Kiev, replace the Zelensky government and take control of much, if not all of Ukraine,” National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told White House reporters on April 4.

Sullivan said U.S. officials believed the Kremlin was now revising its goal in the war.

A senior U.S. defense official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to share new details from the Pentagon, said Russian troops once approaching Kyiv are currently being provided with additional personnel in Belarus.

The official said the Pentagon believes these troops will soon deploy back to the fight in Ukraine. Asked where the troops were likely to go, the official said the Pentagon believes the majority of them will move to the Donbas region, the site of an ongoing conflict since 2014.

A woman walks in front of destroyed buildings in the town of Borodianka on April 6, 2022, where the Russian retreat last week has left traces of the struggle to hold on to the city, just 50 kilometers (30 miles) northwest. of the Ukrainian capital Kiev.

Genya Savilov | AFP | Getty Images

“We need protection of our skies,” said Maria Berlinska, a Ukrainian military veteran who fought in the conflict in the Donbas. She asked U.S. lawmakers during a round of meetings in Washington, DC, for “serious weapons,” including medium-range ground-to-air missile systems, jets, tanks and armored vehicles.

“We have almost run out of ammunition. If you do not have ammunition, you can do nothing,” she said, adding that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war is likely to spread to Ukraine’s borders.

“It is very naive to think that if Putin wants to take Ukraine, he will stop,” added Berlinska, who is training Ukrainian military volunteers in air reconnaissance.

“If we do not win this war, then it will be fought on NATO territory because Putin will not stop. He has bigger plans and he must be stopped in Ukraine,” she warned.

Ukrainian soldiers walk next to destroyed Russian tanks and armored vehicles, in the middle of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, in Bucha, in the Kiev region, Ukraine, April 6, 2022.

Alkis Konstantinidis | Reuters

Since the Moscow invasion on February 24, the Biden administration has deployed more than 100,000 U.S. troops to NATO member states and approved $ 1.7 billion in security assistance.

In addition, the NATO alliance has prepared more than 140 warships as well as 130 aircraft in heightened readiness. Meanwhile, NATO has consistently warned Putin that an attack on a NATO member state will be considered an attack on everyone, triggering the group’s cornerstone, Article 5.

Ukraine, which has been seeking NATO membership since 2002, is surrounded by four NATO allies: Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania. Poland currently hosts the majority of the 30-member Alliance’s troops and has so far taken the brunt of most of the refugees fleeing Putin’s war.

“I think we have proved to the world that we will not surrender because we know that if we surrender, there will be concentration camps. Putin does not even hide what he wants to do with Ukrainians,” he said. corruption action Centers Kaleniuk said.

“It’s a genocide, the elimination of an entire nation, and I’m not exaggerating,” she added.

The UN has confirmed 1,793 civilian deaths and 2,439 wounded in Ukraine since Russia invaded its former Soviet neighbor on February 24.

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