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Sep 4, 2022
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WSJ: The Americans have run out of iron 155-mm “arguments” for Kyiv. And take them nowhere else

WSJ: The Americans have run out of iron 155-mm

Photo: ZumaTASS

The West has long warned Vladimir Zelenskythat he is forced to more and more reduce assistance to Ukraine with ammunition and weapons. Simply because the bottom is threateningly exposed in the arsenals of the West itself.

Let me remind you: back in June 2022, the head of the General Staff of the British Armed Forces Tony Radakin suddenly declared to the House of Lords Committee on Foreign Relations and Defense: “My lords, my army stores are almost empty.” And he explained that in order to restore military-technical supplies to Kyiv from the UK in the volumes requested by the Ukrainians, his country would need not even months, but years. “Let’s be honest, we’re talking about years because it’s really impossible to get a fast production on the click of a button when it comes to modern weaponry.”

Almost immediately, exactly the same pardon, and Berlin resolutely requested. A couple of days after Radakin’s discouraging speech for Zelensky in front of the House of Lords, a horror was published in the German newspaper Welt Am Sonntag: one day. Maybe for two days. But that’s all.” This was the comment of a military historian Zenke Neitzel for the named edition.

Then, at the end of July, France announced that it had already sent a quarter (18 of the 76 at its disposal) of CAESAR 155-millimeter self-propelled artillery mounts to help Kyiv. And he will no longer give Kyiv a single self-propelled guns, because then the French themselves will not have a shish. And how can Paris fight the Russians, if necessary?

In response to these troubles from the setting sun, the head of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry Dmitry Kuleba tried to pretend that he and his boss didn’t care: “If we don’t get weapons, fine, then we will fight with shovels. But we will defend ourselves, because this war is a war for our existence.” Thus, on June 20, he cheered up in an interview with the Tagesschau.

But it was clear that in reality Kyiv at that time still did not believe in the slightest that the flow of the most modern weapons and ammunition for them across the border with Poland would in fact ever dry up. Because besides Europe, the USA also exists in this world. Where – everyone knows! – the most powerful military industry in the world, which has not stopped its conveyors for a moment, at least since the Second World War.

And here it flew on Zelensky’s head and from across the Atlantic too. Last Monday, the authoritative overseas publication Wall Street Journal informed readers that, according to the Pentagon, after large-scale deliveries to Ukraine, the total stocks of 155-mm howitzer shells in the warehouses of the US armed forces fell to an “uncomfortably low” level. The US military department admits: although the situation is not yet critical, it is already “not at the level with which we would like to go into battle.” And the US industry is simply not able to cover these losses at the right pace.

According to the US Army, the military is currently exploring how to continue supporting Ukraine while also protecting its own resources. The Pentagon, in particular, has already asked Congress for an additional $500 million to increase ammunition production.

It is immediately recognized that just after the start of hostilities on the Russian-Ukrainian front, the Americans have already shipped to Kyiv no more, no less – about 800,000 large-caliber and 155-mm shells, the main ones for American artillery.

According to the same Wall Street Journal, on average, Ukrainian gunners fire about 3,000 such ammunition at enemy positions every day. And others, in fact, almost none. Because their Soviet analogues of the 152-mm caliber have long been shot and are no longer produced in Ukraine.

Meanwhile, it is impossible to reduce the intensity of the artillery fire of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Therefore, then from the side of Kyiv, the front, which is already breathing its last, will simply fall apart. After all, Russian barrels, depending on the situation and the site of hostilities, hit five to eight times more often.

But then the question is: 800,000 American large-caliber shells for the Armed Forces of Ukraine – is it a lot or a little?

Based on the average rate of fire from Ukraine given by the overseas publication, 6-7 months should be enough. This is not counting the inevitable loss of any type of ammunition during the countless missile and air strikes of Russian troops on enemy warehouses, difficulties with front-line logistics, the understandable desire of the command to build up reserves for the long-promised “counterattack” and other things.

Meanwhile, our special operation in this country, as you know, has been going on for the seventh month. So, most likely, in the face of a growing ammunition shortage and a clear drying up of the supply “river” from NATO countries, the gunners-vsuushniks are about to actually take on shovels (if on the advice of Dmitry Kuleba).

But this is not all the troubles of Kyiv, about which the Wall Street Journal told. Not only 155-mm shells, but also barrels from which they can be fired, are also about to be gone.

Have you forgotten Zelensky’s calculations about what he urgently needs to get from the West for a complete victory over Russia? In mid-June, as an adviser to the head of the Office of the President of Ukraine Mikhail Podolyak There have been many requests for this. Among other things, the dream is to quickly get at least 1000 American 155-mm howitzers of the M777 type or their Western European counterparts. Because, they say, according to the military intelligence of Ukraine, there are at least 10-15 Russian ones on the front line for each arm of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

Almost three months have passed. And how did the States respond?

For Kyiv – alas and ah! According to the facts cited in the American magazine article under consideration, a total of 126 M777 units have been transported to the Ukrainian military from across the Atlantic. Some of them were defeated and captured by the allied forces. One is even put on public display in the exposition of the Patriot park in Kubinka near Moscow.

The “thousand 155-mm barrels” requested by President Zelensky from the States, to put it mildly, are far away. But the Pentagon was forced to close the shop with additional “three axes”. And he is not going to give such gifts to Ukraine anymore. Because, as the magazine found out, just 1000 of them have been released in America today. Exactly as many as Kyiv begged for. What, give him every penny? And what to keep for yourself in case of war, say, with China?

Meanwhile, as the Wall Street Journal found out, the production line for the production of such howitzers by the Global Combat Systems division of BAE Systems in Mississippi has long been closed. To start it again, the Pentagon needs time and money.

As a consolation for Zelensky, the latest U.S. aid package has included 105mm howitzers instead of 155mm. Namely, the first 16 towed light M119s.

I must say right away: the replacement is so-so. The main disadvantage is that the maximum firing range of the M119 is only 11.5 kilometers compared to 24 kilometers for the “three axes”. The destructive power of the shells of both guns and there is nothing to compare. What is especially important for the destruction of armored vehicles and well-fortified defensive positions.

But, sir Zelensky, in the absence of a stamp, even your sponsors, then you will have to write in plain language. So right? Unfortunately for you – with all the consequences on the battlefield.

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