Keeping the Ukraine supplied with ammo and militatry hardware is draining Westerm Military (And Russian ) stocks back home….
Foreign Leaders travel to the Ukraine ……
Update...A ‘Quiet’ new Ukraine Black Sea Offensive….
In Ukraine, the kind of European war thought inconceivable is chewing up the modest stockpiles of artillery, ammunition and air defenses of what some in NATO call Europe’s “bonsai armies,” after the tiny Japanese trees. Even the mighty United States has only limited stocks of the weapons the Ukrainians want and need, and Washington is unwilling to divert key weapons from delicate regions like Taiwan and Korea, where China and North Korea are constantly testing the limits.
Now, nine months into the war, the West’s fundamental unpreparedness has set off a mad scramble to supply Ukraine with what it needs while also replenishing NATO stockpiles. As both sides burn through weaponry and ammunition at a pace not seen since World War II, the competition to keep arsenals flush has become a critical front that could prove decisive to Ukraine’s effort….
The amount of artillery being used is staggering, NATO officials say. In Afghanistan, NATO forces might have fired even 300 artillery rounds a day and had no real worries about air defense. But Ukraine can fire thousands of rounds daily and remains desperate for air defense against Russian missiles and Iranian-made drones.
“A day in Ukraine is a month or more in Afghanistan,” said Camille Grand, a defense expert at the European Council on Foreign Relations, who until recently was NATO’s assistant secretary general for defense investment….
The Russians, too, are having resupply problems of their own. They are now using fewer artillery rounds, but they have a lot of them, even if some are old and less reliable. Facing a similar scramble, Moscow is also trying to ramp up military production and is reportedly seeking to buy missiles from North Korea and more cheap drones from Iran….
In total, NATO countries have so far provided some $40 billion in weaponry to Ukraine, roughly the size of France’s annual defense budget.
Smaller countries have exhausted their potential, another NATO official said, with 20 of its 30 members “pretty tapped out.” But the remaining 10 can still provide more, he suggested, especially larger allies. That would include France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands…
Ukraine has also proved adaptable. Its forces are known inside NATO as “the MacGyver Army,” a reference to an old television series in which the hero is inventive and improvisational with whatever comes to hand….
Meanwhile, electricity has been restored in the southern city of Kherson, a senior Ukrainian official said Saturday, thanking the emergency workers who had reconnected the supply in the city that was liberated from Russian occupation two weeks ago. The city is still coming under Russian strikes, which led several hospitals to evacuate patients on Friday, the authorities said. Millions of Ukrainians were without power in the past few days, Zelensky said Friday.
Here’s the latest on the war and its ripple effects across the globe.
- The prime ministers of Belgium, Poland, Hungary and Lithuania arrived in Kyiv on Saturday, offering a show of support as Ukraine prepares to commemorate those who died in the 1932-1933 famine, known as Holodomor. The famine, which was caused by the edicts of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, killed 4 million people and has been recognized by the European Parliament as a “crime against humanity.”
- The visiting European leaders attended a food security summit in Kyiv, appearing alongside Zelensky. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg also addressed the summit on Saturday, accusing Russia of “using hunger as a weapon of war against Ukraine” and drawing parallels with the Holodomor famine.
- Ukraine announced that it would send produce to some of the world’s poorest countries. The “Grain from Ukraine” program will send 60 ships of produce in the first half of next year, Zelensky said at a news conference with the visiting leaders after their meeting. The countries receiving aid may include Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Sudan, he said on Telegram, with each ship providing food for about 90,000 people.
- Ukrainian officials drew on the 90th anniversary of Holodomor to rally their citizens against Russian troops. “The Holodomor of 1932-1933 was a genocide of the Ukrainian people,” presidential official Andriy Yermak wrote on Twitter. “Now, 90 years later, Russia unleashed a full-scale war against us and wants to organize Holodomor 2.0. But this time not in Ukraine alone, but also in the world,” he said, as the country’s defense ministry condemned Russia’s “theft and destruction” of Ukrainian grain and its impact on global food supplies.
- About 30 civilians have been killed by Russian strikes in the Kherson region since Russia withdrew from its eight-month occupation of the southern Ukraine city and surrounding area on Nov. 9, the head of Ukraine’s National Police said Saturday. Ihor Klymenko, on Facebook, blamed Russian shelling for 32 local deaths in the past 2½ weeks and said some Kherson residents are leaving for safer areas. The Washington Post could not independently confirm the number of deaths. Klymenko said police have been searching deoccupied areas and have found more than 3,500 explosive devices.
- NATO forces drilled in the Suwalki Gap, a tiny stretch of land along the Polish-Lithuanian border that is seen as a point of vulnerability for the alliance in event of a Russian attack. The troops are practicing crossing water and landing, according to Reuters. “We saw that the soldiers work well together. They are prepared to take responsibility for the security of our homeland and the entire eastern flank of NATO,” said Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak.
- Russia is probably using older cruise missiles stripped of their nuclear warheads, Britain’s Defense Ministry said Saturday, in an attempt to divert Ukraine’s air defenses. “Whatever Russia’s intent, this improvisation highlights the level of depletion in Russia’s stock of long-range missiles,” the ministry said in its daily update.
- Russia attacked the suburbs of Zaporizhzhia city, with rockets hitting a hospital and service station, Oleksandr Starukh, head of the regional military administration, said Friday on Telegram. No casualties were reported after Friday’s strikes….