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I can not believe they had to wait that long. Finally, after 50 days of war, the new US military aid package announced by President Joe Biden on Wednesday afternoon provides Ukraine with some heavy American artillery, 300 armored vehicles and other equipment that will significantly increase Ukraine’s ability to attack the Russians.
It’s an upgrade and on time. Based on the list of new weapons going to Ukraine, the Pentagon must see some serious Russian attacks coming. Apparently someone lit a fire under the Pentagon staff. Deliveries will “literally begin immediately,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby promised on April 13.
Russia is concentrating combat power in the Donbas, and “time is of the essence,” the Pentagon said. To me, it seems that Russia wants to take Kramatorsk and other territories they briefly occupied in 2014, and to put the so-called “People’s Republics” in Donetsk and Luhansk under permanent Russian control.
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This list is a serious commitment to take on the second Russian offensive, including:
* Eighteen 155mm Howitzer long-range cannons with 40,000 cartridges that can destroy Russian reinforcements up to ten miles away.
* Firefinder radars locate Russian artillery sites based on incoming shelling.
* The Sentinel radar tracks drones, cruise missiles, helicopters and short-range air defense aircraft – in fact it is used to defend Washington, DC, and it can come after Russian drones.
* 100 Humveer and 200 armored personnel carriers will help Ukraine’s forces move in the block-to-block war over cities and highways
* Eleven former Soviet Mi-17 helicopters (probably from US special forces or CIA inventory) will let Ukraine move people and equipment
* More Javelin anti-tank weapons – hopefully the advanced model with an adjustable warhead that can also defeat the explosive reactive armor of Russia’s more sophisticated tanks.
I have especially noticed that the Claymore mines, which detonate on command and have a barrage of about 100 yards, are also on the list. Ukraine will set up selected minefields to channel Russian forces and put Russian soldiers on guard to leave roads and vehicles.
Keep in mind that this is Ukraine’s own country and they will keep charts of mine locations so they can pull them out later.
For some reason, the United States and NATO have decided that Ukraine should beat Russia without using much air power. That is not how the United States and NATO are fighting.
And 100 of the Switchblade attack drones that were first promised on March 16 are finally in Ukraine, with more on the way.
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Putin has threatened to attack arms shipments, but the fact is that Western roads, railways and air supplies are open.
The equipment list does not tell the whole story either.
The United States has shared “extraordinary” intelligence and surveillance with Ukraine, to use the term of Joint Chiefs Mark Milley.
The details are sparse, but this probably includes satellite imagery, signal intelligence and drone tracking to help Ukraine’s forces find, direct and target the Russians. That’s a huge advantage and one of the best things the United States can do for Ukraine right now.
Of course, there is still a big problem. Where is the air power? It’s not just the MiG-29s. For some reason, the United States and NATO have decided that Ukraine should beat Russia without using much air power. That is not how the United States and NATO are fighting.
In Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, our forces had a huge air strike force from drones, helicopters, fighter jets and bombers available around the clock. But Biden will not give Ukraine anything like that. If he did, Ukraine would win faster.
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However large this package may be, it is only a fraction of what Ukraine needs. President Biden says he has provided $ 2.6 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since February 24. That’s a lot of money, but do not forget that Congress approved $ 14 billion, which Biden has barely used.
Still, this is a welcome change of pace for the Pentagon. Few expected Ukraine to fight so well when the war began on February 24th. For weeks, the Pentagon was in a state of reaction instead of thinking ahead to a major war and the demands for weapons and supplies. With Kyiv ready, there is a green light to pour equipment into.
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