Ukraine’s top negotiator is calling for more weapons

Ukrainian police documented the destruction of one of Europe’s largest clothing markets, Barabashovo (more than 75 hectares) in Kharkiv on May 16, 2022, which was destroyed by shelling amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Sergey Bobok AFP | Getty Images

WASHINGTON – Ukraine’s negotiator, who is leading talks with Russia’s stalemate, has called on US and NATO allies to quickly supply additional weapons to Kyiv, citing a lack of progress in mediating a peace deal with Moscow.

“We call once or twice a week and they check and ask what’s going on, but both sides are well aware that there is currently no room for negotiation,” said David Arahamia, leader of the majority in Ukraine’s parliament and in Kyiv. top negotiator.

Arahamiya, who sat down with reporters at the German Marshall Fund in Washington to share updates from discussions with Biden officials and lawmakers, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, said Ukraine simply needed more weapons. and more sanctions imposed on Russia.

“They retreated and regrouped and are now fighting in a very different way. This is a much smarter way, I would say, because the logistics are already in place, “said Arahamiya.

In the weeks following the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine in late February, Russian forces on the ground were seized by many logistical problems on the battlefieldincluding reports of fuel and food shortages.

Arahamiya added that Ukraine’s battle against Russia has shifted to a “distance battle” and will therefore require a consistent supply of long-range artillery, drones, interference and radar to counter Russia’s colossal arsenal of medium-range ballistic missiles. and large range. missiles.

“There is no region in Ukraine that is considered completely safe, as they have missiles with a distance that allows them to fire at any target throughout Ukraine,” Arahamiya added.

President Joe Biden on Wednesday announced another $ 1 billion in arms for Ukraine, including anti – ship systems, artillery missiles and howitzer shells. After the Kremlin’s invasion of the former Soviet neighbor in February. At 24, the United States has provided $ 5.6 billion in security assistance to Ukraine.

The latest security package 12th such installmentcomes as Russian forces step up attacks in Ukraine’s Donbass region.

Heavy artillery platforms are high on the wish lists of the Ukrainian army. To date, the Pentagon has transferred 126 155-mm artillery systems from US Army and Ukrainian Marine Corps supplies to Ukrainian forces. Along with the howitzers, the United States fired approximately 260,000 artillery shells.

The Pentagon recently included high-mobility artillery missile systems or HMARS, manufactured by the defense giant. Lockheed Martin. HMARS are designed to launch various missiles from a mobile 5-ton truck.

Ukrainian troops fire an M777 howitzer projectile near the front line as the Russian attack on Ukraine continues, in the Donetsk region, Ukraine, on June 6, 2022.

Stringer Reuters

Arahamiya said Ukrainian forces were rapidly depleting ammunition and artillery shells for heavy artillery platforms supplied by the United States.

“The delivery of 150,000 shells, which is considered a very large shipment, is only one month after the war,” he said, adding that “when battles are intense, we can use up to half a million shells a month.”

Arahamiya said that after large shipments of ammunition and artillery shells, some NATO allies were not ready to deliver and were delivering to Ukraine.

“They want to defend their own countries, which is understandable to us,” he said, referring to threats by Russian President Vladimir Putin to expand the war in Ukraine further into Europe.

“The world was not ready for a battle of this magnitude,” Arahamia added.

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