From Novaya gazeta Europe, April 24, 2024, Condensed text:

The long-awaited US aid package expected to arrive in Ukraine over the next few weeks will help the country temporarily solve its ammunition shortage, but analysts worry it isn’t a viable long-term solution. . . .

According to military analysts Kirill Mikhailov and Yan Matveyev, the first arms deliveries can be expected in Ukraine within a week of Biden signing the bill, given that the Pentagon had promised to prepare the military aid package in advance.

The support will cover artillery ammunition, including missiles for Patriot air defense systems and HIMARS rocket launchers. Patriot systems are likely to act as a deterrent to Russian troops, Mikhailov said. “We can expect a decline in Russian ballistic missile strikes on cities where [Patriot air defense systems] are deployed,” he noted, adding that more tank deliveries are expected too.

For the first time, Washington will also supply Ukraine with ATACMS, long-range ballistic missiles whose range extends to the entire area of annexed Crimea, Mikhailov added. “With the availability of new longer-range missiles, Ukraine will be able to drive out of the Crimea the Russian fighter jets and various missile launchers that Russia uses to attack cities in the south of Ukraine.”

The US support will likely not dramatically change the situation on the front line or stop the Russian offensive, but it will slow it down, the Financial Times reported Sunday.

“Russia will still have an artillery advantage, it just won’t be as great,” military analyst Rob Lee told FT.

The Wall Street Journal reported in February that the UAF had been experiencing an ammunition shortage and were forced to act defensively instead of going on another offensive.

UAF Commander in Chief Aleksandr Syrsky warned in April that the front lines had “deteriorated significantly” and that Russian troops had intensified their offensive, attacking Ukrainian positions near Liman and Bakhmut. Russian troops are also launching a major attack on Chasov Yar in eastern Ukraine, an important site for Ukrainian defenses, situated to the west of Avdeyevka, which was captured by Russian forces in February. If Russia takes Chasov Yar, they will have a foothold from which they can launch new attacks deep into Ukraine, Novaya gazeta Europe previously learned.

Ukraine is currently facing four issues which allow Russia to advance on the battlefield, according to Mikhailov: a personnel shortage, Russian aerial bombardment, a shortage of shells, and difficulties in establishing long-term defensive positions.

Despite the ammunition shortage temporarily being alleviated by the new aid package, there are fears that the US package will be the last in 2024, and that all subsequent military aid efforts will be much smaller, Ukrainian military analysts told FT.

Experts are also concerned by how slow and difficult creating an aid package has been. “Ideally, the next package should be approved this fall. But will the US be ready to do it in the midst of an election?” Matveyev wondered.

The personnel shortage remains a key problem for Ukraine, as Russia has been able to consistently recoup its battlefield losses by mobilizing around 30,000 soldiers a month, FT estimated.

Ukraine has recently taken steps to boost conscription, with President Zelensky signing a law on April 2 to reduce the eligibility age for mobilization from 27 to 25 years old. Ukraine’s parliament also adopted a new bill on April 11 tightening the mobilization legislation [see Vol. 76, No. 16, pp. 14-15]. . . .

Matveyev also believes that the aid package will allow Ukraine to stabilize the situation at the front, but this will only be enough to hold out until the end of the year.

Without a regular support plan, the Ukrainian Army won’t be able to fight successfully, according to Matveyev.

“Such financing is not enough to support [Ukraine’s] offensive.” Matveyev said, noting that the current funding “will not solve all its problems.” . . .