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How Could Ukraine’s New Arsenal of Western Weapons Aid in a Counteroffensive?

by Lucas Garcia
5 comments
Ukraine's Western-made weapons

The Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 initially faced a Ukrainian military force largely equipped with Soviet-era weapons. Despite this, Ukraine managed to defend its capital, Kyiv, and avert complete defeat in the early stages of the conflict.

A dramatic shift occurred when billions of dollars in military aid began flooding in, bringing with it a slew of modern Western-made weapons. These new additions to Ukraine’s arsenal could potentially transform the budding counteroffensive and offer valuable insights into the effectiveness of these contemporary weapon systems against Russian forces.

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Analysts are maintaining a cautious optimism.

“Ukraine is significantly better equipped for combined arms warfare than at the onset of Russia’s full-scale reinvasion,” said George Barros, a Russia analyst at the Center for Strategic International Studies.

Below is an exploration of the Western weapons deployed to Ukraine and the potential benefits they might confer.

Precision Strikes

Ukraine’s forces now possess High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), a valuable tool for delivering strikes at longer distances and with greater accuracy than their Soviet-era counterparts.

In the counteroffensive, HIMARS have already demonstrated their effectiveness, taking down bridges near Kherson and disrupting Russian supply lines. Ukraine is lobbying for longer-range missiles compatible with HIMARS, although the U.S. and its allies have so far demurred.

Nonetheless, the U.S. consented to send Ground-Launched Small Diameter Bombs in February, while the U.K. delivered Storm Shadow cruise missiles, both of which have already seen combat, extending Ukraine’s operational reach.

Air Defense

In response to the continuous missile assaults on Ukrainian cities and infrastructure, the West has supplied Patriot and Avenger air defense systems.

While these new air defense systems are significant, Ukrainian forces continue to face challenges in protecting their territory against regular Russian missile attacks. Russia has relied heavily on long-range ballistic and cruise missiles, thereby minimizing risk to its aircraft, many of which were lost in the early stages of the invasion.

Ukraine’s air force, comprised largely of Soviet-made Sukhoi and Mig-29 jets, is used strategically to launch missiles from large distances, aiming to limit losses. However, the delivery of Western jets remains an open question.

“Ukraine would undoubtedly be in a better position for a more decisive victory if we made these decisions more promptly,” added Barros.

Artillery

Artillery, known as the “King of Battle,” remains crucial in the conflict in Ukraine. To oust Russian troops entrenched in the southern and eastern regions of the country, Ukraine’s artillery will be key.

American M777s and German Panzerhaubitze 2000 howitzers, both newly acquired, provide increased power and accuracy compared to Ukraine’s initial artillery stock.

Tanks and Armored Vehicles

Barros points out that Ukraine requires the “punching force” of tanks and fighting vehicles to penetrate Russian defenses. Recent deliveries of German Leopards and British Challengers surpass the capabilities of the Soviet-designed T-64 and T-72 tanks Ukraine initially relied upon.

The U.S. has also provided Bradley fighting vehicles, boasting superior troop protection and firepower compared to Soviet-era counterparts. These vehicles have the potential to cause heavy casualties and destroy enemy weapon systems, making them invaluable for a counteroffensive.

Training

Both Barros and Craig Cartier, a retired Soviet Union analyst for the U.S., agree that Ukrainian troops’ training and experience have been instrumental. They argue that the soldiers’ mastery of new equipment and tactics has turned them into a formidable force.

Training programs in the U.K., Germany, and other neighboring countries have further prepared Ukrainian forces for the conflict, focusing on infantry tactics and equipment operation, such as the Challenger-2 tanks.

Predicting the outcome of the counteroffensive remains uncertain, but Barros points out that, “every single time that the Ukrainians have had an opportunity to demonstrate their fortitude and resolve on the battlefield, they’ve always outperformed expectations.”

Follow AP’s coverage of the war in Ukraine: https://bigbignews.net/russia-ukraine

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Ukraine’s Western-made weapons

What kind of weapons has Ukraine received as military assistance in the conflict with Russia?

Ukraine has received a range of Western-made weapons as military assistance in the conflict with Russia. These include High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) for precision strikes, Patriot and Avenger air defense systems, M777 and Panzerhaubitze 2000 howitzers for artillery support, as well as tanks such as German Leopards and British Challengers, and Bradley fighting vehicles for armored capabilities.

How have these new Western weapons strengthened Ukraine’s counteroffensive?

The new Western weapons have provided Ukraine with several advantages in its counteroffensive against Russia. The HIMARS systems have enabled Ukrainian forces to strike targets at greater distances and with increased accuracy. Air defense systems like Patriot and Avenger have helped protect against missile attacks. The upgraded artillery, tanks, and armored vehicles offer enhanced firepower, better accuracy, and improved troop protection. These weapons have improved Ukraine’s capabilities to challenge and push back Russian forces.

Has the training of Ukrainian troops contributed to their effectiveness in the conflict?

Yes, the training of Ukrainian troops has played a significant role in their effectiveness during the conflict. Ukrainian soldiers have demonstrated mastery of new equipment and tactics, making them a formidable force. They have undergone training in neighboring countries like the U.K. and Germany, focusing on infantry tactics and specialized equipment operation. This training has contributed to their ability to outperform expectations on the battlefield and utilize the provided weapons to their fullest potential.

How has the delivery of Western weapons impacted Ukraine’s ability to defend against Russian attacks?

The delivery of Western weapons has bolstered Ukraine’s defense against Russian attacks. The increased range and accuracy of weapons like HIMARS and artillery systems have allowed Ukraine to strike back at Russian positions effectively. The air defense systems, including Patriot and Avenger, have helped mitigate missile threats to Ukrainian cities and infrastructure. Additionally, the upgraded tanks and armored vehicles have provided Ukraine with more robust capabilities to withstand and repel Russian offensives, resulting in better protection for Ukrainian forces and increased resilience against Russian attacks.

More about Ukraine’s Western-made weapons

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5 comments

PeaceLover123 June 30, 2023 - 11:53 am

it’s sad that the conflict is still going on. but with the help of western weapons, ukraine has a better chance to defend itself. let’s hope for a peaceful resolution soon.

Reply
Gunner17 June 30, 2023 - 2:13 pm

wow, those HIMARS rockets sound badass! ukraine can strike targets from far away now. and the tanks and armored vehicles are gonna pack a punch! go ukraine!

Reply
JohnnyBravo June 30, 2023 - 5:31 pm

training is key! ukrainian troops are well trained and can handle the new weapons. they’re gonna show russia what they’re made of. go get ’em, ukraine!

Reply
WarHistoryNerd June 30, 2023 - 6:22 pm

the upgrade in ukraine’s artillery is a game-changer. those M777 howitzers and Panzerhaubitze 2000s are top-notch. gonna give russia a taste of their own medicine!

Reply
Sarah1987 July 1, 2023 - 12:35 am

ukraine has got new western weapons? thats great news! but russia invaded them, so its not easy for them. but they have better weapons now, so they can fight back. hope they win!

Reply

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