Volodymyr Zelensky nightmare as Ukraine forced to downsize military operations

Volodymr Zelensky has been hit by a huge blow after a decline in foreign aid has forced Ukraine to downsize military operations in the war with Russia.

Top general Oleksandr Tarnavskyi warned ammunition shortages along the entire front line are posing a significant challenge for Kyiv, prompting a need for strategic adjustments.

This comes after political wrangles caused delays in billions of dollars of US and EU aid.

General Tarnavskyi said troops are particularly short on artillery shells, especially for Soviet-era weapons.

He told Reuters: “The volumes we have are not sufficient, given our needs

โ€œSo, we’re redistributing it. We’re re-planning tasks that we had set for ourselves and making them smaller because we need to provide for them.

“In some areas, we moved to defence, and in some we continue our offensive actions.

“And we are preparing our reserves for our further large-scale actions. Their intention remains. The only thing is that their actions change, tactics change.”

The US Congress recently blocked a $60 billion military package for Ukraine, followed by Hungary blocking the EU’s โ‚ฌ50 billion financial aid deal. Despite these challenges, EU leaders assured continued support for Ukraine.

The ammunition shortage has been exacerbated by Western struggles to maintain supplies. While the EU pledged to send one million artillery shells by March 2024, only 480,000 have been delivered or are in the pipeline.

The US has provided over two million 155mm shells, but its own stocks have been depleted, leading to the decision to send cluster munitions.

A report by the Estonian defence ministry said Kyiv needed a minimum of 200,000 artillery shells a month to retain an edge against Russia.

It said: “Sustaining this rate will empty European and US stockpiles over 2024 and will require significant foreign purchases of ammunition.”

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Ukraine’s Deputy Defence Minister Ivan Havryliuk revealed that the country is increasing production of kamikaze drones to compensate for the lack of artillery shells.

Additionally, efforts are underway to boost the country’s defence industry by jointly producing ammunition with Western companies on Ukrainian soil.

Negotiations with US companies during President Volodymyr Zelensky’s December visit resulted in agreements for joint production. The focus is on achieving technological superiority, recognizing that Ukraine cannot match Russia’s resources and manpower.

While confident in international partners overcoming political differences to provide aid, concerns linger that Russia interprets the situation as a weakening of international support for Ukraine. The prospect of Moscow outlasting the West in this battle of attrition raises alarms.

Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin reiterated his belief that the war would only end when Russia achieves its goals.

Kalle Kirss, Estonia’s defence adviser to NATO, told the BBC that Europe needed to commit funding to support Ukraine.

He said: “We need to signal very clearly to Russia that we’re ready for a long war and that we will boost our industry and we [will] commit our resources.”

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