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Most NATO members are out of weapons for Ukraine – NYT
RT.com, Nov 26 2022

Western weapon stockpiles have become strained after countless arms transfers to Ukraine, making it increasingly difficult for NATO militaries to keep up with politicians’ pledges to continue supporting Kiev with whatever it needs for as long as it takes, the NYT reported on Saturday. “Smaller countries have exhausted their potential,” according to one NATO official, and at least 20 of the alliance’s 30 members are “pretty tapped out.” Only “larger allies,” including France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands, have enough stockpiles to continue or potentially increase their weapon shipments to Ukraine. Since the start of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine in late February, the US and its Western allies have been providing Kiev with billions of dollars in security assistance, to the tune of nearly $40b, now comparable to the entire annual defense budget of France. Moscow has repeatedly warned that the weapon shipments will only prolong the conflict and increase the risk of a direct conflict between Russia and NATO. As Ukraine continues to call for more weapons, EU stockpiles are running low, with Germany already “reaching its limit” as of early September. Meanwhile, Lithuania, which does not have any more weapons to donate, has urged the allies to give Ukraine “everything we have.”

Biden has vowed to keep the arms pipeline open for “as long as it takes,” but even American military stockpiles have taken a toll after repeated shipments to Kiev. As early as March, just weeks after the conflict in Ukraine kicked off, the US DoD was already scrambling to replenish thousands of shoulder-fired missiles supplied to Kiev. By August, US stockpiles of 155mm artillery ammunition were “uncomfortably low,” according to the WSJ. The Pentagon’s latest fact sheet detailed more than $19b in direct military aid approved since February, including over 46k anti-armor systems, nearly 200 Howitzers, 38 long-range HIMARS, and a litany of other heavy weapons, vehicles and ammunition, as well as over 920k of 155mm artillery rounds. CSIS previously pointed out that the American military is “not structured to fight or support an extended conflict,” while the defense industry is “sized for peacetime production rates,” and expanding capabilities would take years. NATO is heavily invested in Ukraine, with the alliance’s members also providing training and intelligence capability. Despite this “unprecedented support,” Stoltenberg has repeatedly claimed that “NATO is not a party to the conflict.” Moscow sees things differently. Multiple top officials including Lavrov have accused NATO of waging war against Russia “by proxy,” while Putin has described Russia as fighting “the entire Western military machine.”

A third of Western howitzers sent to Ukraine out of action – NYT
RT.com, Nov 26 2022

Western-made artillery pieces sent to Ukraine are constantly breaking down or being damaged in combat, and this has become a problem for the US DoD, the NYT reported on Friday. To address the issue, the Pentagon, which has provided Kiev with hundreds of the weapons, has reportedly set up a repair facility across the border in Poland. According to US officials and other people “familiar with Ukraine’s defense needs,” one third of the 350 howitzers that the West has sent to Ukraine are out of action at any given time. The weapons either burn out due to long periods of overuse or become damaged in combat and cannot be repaired in the field. The task of fixing the equipment has become a priority for EUCOM, which has reportedly deployed a repair facility in Poland. Repair efforts started in recent months. However, the state of Ukraine’s arms is a closely held matter among US officials, the report says, adding that its sources refused to provide any further details on the program. Maintenance in Poland usually involves swapping out the howitzers’ barrels among other repairs, according to the NYT. Ukrainian officials, meanwhile, reportedly say that they want the workshops to be set up closer to the frontline so that the guns could return to combat sooner.

On Friday, Stoltenberg insisted that the alliance has not conducted any work inside Ukraine, claiming that this proves that it is not party to the hostilities. However, in October, Lavrov said that Western military assistance to Ukraine makes it a participant in the conflict. Since the start of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine in late February, Western countries have been supporting Kiev with billions of dollars in security assistance. The US, Ukraine’s largest backer, has provided weapons, including artillery, to the tune of more than $19b since the onset of hostilities. According to figures released by the Pentagon, as of Nov 23, the US had committed 142 of the 155mm howitzers and up to 924k artillery rounds for the guns. US aid has also included 36 of the 105mm howitzers and 180k artillery rounds. Moscow has repeatedly stated that Western arms shipments only prolong the conflict.

EU believes US is profiting from Ukraine conflict – Politico
RT.com, Nov 26 2022

Senior EU officials are angry at the Biden administration, arguing that Washington is capitalizing on the Ukraine conflict and the bloc’s economic problems, Politico reported on Thursday. One senior official who was interviewed by the outlet said that the US is profiting from the conflict the most because “they are selling more gas and at higher prices, and because they are selling more weapons.” The growing transatlantic rift is based on several factors. The Western sanctions imposed on Moscow over its military campaign in Ukraine have caused major disruptions in gas deliveries from Russia to Europe, and the EU now relies on American gas, which comes at a price four times higher than it costs in the US. Macron described this practice as “not friendly.” However, a Politico source indicated that when confronted by EU leaders at the G20 summit over the problem, Biden “simply seemed unaware.”

Another thorny issue is the US Inflation Reduction Act, an incentive scheme which offers huge subsidies and tax breaks to green businesses. Brussels is worried that it may potentially be ruinous for the bloc’s economy, as it could give American electric vehicle manufacturers an advantage over their EU counterparts in the lucrative US market. “We are really at a historic juncture,” one EU official told Politico, arguing that these disagreements may undermine Western efforts to support Ukraine and the transatlantic alliance itself. “America needs to realize that public opinion is shifting in many EU countries,” he added. Europeans are also reportedly growing irritated about the money flowing to the US defense industry due to the campaign to support Ukraine with weapons. According to one senior official, it may take the EU years to replenish its supply of weapons, which has fueled fears that the US will profit from the conflict even more. The report comes after Maria Zakharova claimed last week that by trying to isolate Moscow over the Ukraine conflict, the EU only “imposes costs on EU countries and their citizens, who are forced to pay out of their own pockets for the strategic blunders of their politicians.”

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