Author: Oleksii Reznikov, Minister of Defence of Ukraine
I am happy to inform you that Polish self-propelled artillery units AHS Krab are ready to carry out combat missions at the front.
After M777 and FH70 howitzers, CAESAR self-propelled howitzers and M109A3, these units are the 5th type of 155 mm artillery that we managed to obtain.
Much has changed since the moment of the full-scale russian invasion. Thanks to the men and women defending our country in the Ukrainian defence and security forces, we have the opportunity to look back, assess what has happened during that time and try to look into the future.
A few words on what the Ministry of Defence is focused on.
After 24 February, providing the army with weapons, ammo, military and special equipment has become the top priority.
We had to learn very quickly, because the Ministry of Defence was not adapted to large-scale weapon imports and had no respective competences. Moreover, the state in general had no such competences to a sufficient extent because emphasis had been previously made on the export of domestic weaponry.
We quickly established work procedures in three areas:
• systematic cooperation with partners in order to obtain material and technical assistance;
• purchase of weapons and equipment from Ukrainian manufacturers;
• import through direct contracts of the Ministry of Defence and mechanisms of special exporters.
A key strategic decision of the past period was a change in philosophy: we launched the transfer of the Armed Forces of Ukraine to heavy weaponry used by NATO member states. First of all, this applies to artillery, which plays a decisive role.
In early March we were already well aware that during intensive war with russia our resources were depleting and our existing reserves were incomparable to those of the enemy. Relying solely on Soviet weapons was definitely a losing strategy.
Therefore, by turning to our partners for help, we initiated the supply of 155 mm artillery units and other heavy weapons.
Here are just a few examples that have already been publicly announced by our partners.
To this date, the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine has ensured the supply of 150 artillery platforms of 155 mm caliber to the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The stockpiles of ammunition of this caliber are already 10% larger than the stockpiles of Soviet-type large-caliber shells that existed before 24 February 2022. Moreover, these new shells are more effective than their Soviet equivalents, and hence their consumption is lower.
At the same time, more than 50 other large-caliber cannons were supplied to the Armed Forces of Ukraine. This includes projectiles for them, which constitute over 75% of the amount that existed at the beginning of the full-scale russian invasion.
Dozens of Soviet-type MLRS units and tens of thousands of shells, hundreds of mortars and hundreds of thousands of projectiles for them have strengthened our defence capabilities during this period.
The Ministry of Defence is competing with the russian army for leadership in the supply of tanks and other Soviet-type armored vehicles. We`re talking about hundreds of units.
On a separate note, I would like to single out the dedication and professional work of Ukroboronprom State Concern specialists, who restored or repaired hundreds of military and special equipment units for our soldiers, including captured equipment.
We received around 250 armored vehicles of Western models (M113 TM, M113 YPR-765, Bushmaster, Mastiff, Husky, Wolfhound etc.) from our partners. This line of work continues.
And this is not to mention the MANPADS (Stinger, Starstreak, Mistral, Piorun, Grom etc.), ATGMs (NLAW, Javelin, Milan etc.) and grenade launchers (Panzerfaust, Carl Gustaf, AT4, RGW-90 HH / MATADOR etc.). As you may well know, there are thousands of them.
This is not even close to a complete list. It is too early to talk about certain other modern weapon systems. We will talk of them later. But the enemy will feel their effect on their own skin right now.
In addition, the Ministry of Defense handed over hundreds of drones through various mechanisms, including several dozen combat drones. We are expecting some serious UAVs in the upcoming aid packages.
Our coastal defence was strengthened by highly effective Harpoon complexes. Together with our Neptunes, the Harpoons are already forcing the enemy fleet to keep the distance to avoid the fate of the russian Black Sea Fleet flagship moskva…
The example of weapon supplies clearly shows that all this is teamwork led by the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky. The Cabinet of Ministers headed by the Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal and the Presidential Office led by Andriy Yermak are actively involved into this work.
Defence as a whole is our common cause. Everyone has a role to play in it. Some are fighting for political decisions, some are solving numerous legal, financial and logistical issues. Some are repairing weapons. And the main actors – our soldiers – are using it.
I would like to note that the request for weapons is formed by the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. After that, teams from the Ministry of Defence, defence attaches and Dmytro Kuleba`s diplomats are working with it. This request changes depending on the current needs and development of hostilities.
The supplied weapons and equipment are centrally transferred by the Ministry of Defence to the warehouses of our Armed Forces. The distribution is carried out by the command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine because they are exactly those who see the whole picture, form operation plans and set priorities. Let me remind you that in order to obtain the appropriate weapons, commanders must address the Logistics Forces Command.
It is worth noting, for instance, that the initial request of the Armed Forces regarding 155 mm artillery units has been 90% fulfilled by the Ministry of Defence. This need will be 100% fulfilled within a week or two. However, when the circumstances on the battlefield are changing, the needs are increasing too. Our General Staff reacts to operational changes, and the Ministry of Defence alters the task for its team pursuant to the request of the General Staff. We already have a clear artillery supply plan until the end of July.
Important announcement has been made recently: our American and British partners have decided to provide Ukraine with MLRS units. I must note that our soldiers have been learning to operate those weapons for some time.
I had many discussions with foreign colleagues to launch early training for teams with different types of weapons that do not yet have political decisions regarding their supply. Training with some of those weapons began in March. More than 1,500 of our servicemen are currently undergoing training or will begin their training shortly.
I deliberately do not elaborate on the number of radars, medical vehicles, air bombs etc. Soon I will separately reveal details of material and financial support, individual armor protection and control systems.
The gist is important here: we have already received, bought on the market, manufactured and handed over to the Armed Forces of Ukraine a significant number of weapons. These numbers would have been enough for a victorious defence operation against any army in Europe.
But not against russia.
The russian junk has many more means in store to devour human lives in a bid to satisfy its imperial ego.
That is why we emphasize: Ukraine desperately needs heavy weapons, and very fast. We have proved that, unlike many others, we do not fear the Kremlin. But as a country we cannot afford to be losing our best sons and daughters.
Therefore, our goals are as follows:
• to obtain a significant amount of NATO-type MLRS units with ammo;
• to ensure complete replacement of some existing Soviet-type calibers (worn guns, shells not produced or scarce) with platforms that are common in NATO countries and equipped with ammo;
• to agree with partners regarding the transition from supplies of separate platforms to integral organic units immediately ready for combat. This will significantly boost efficiency on the battlefield;
• to ensure the supply of hundreds of heavy armored vehicles, without which effective counterattack is impossible. It should be considered that Soviet equipment is mostly obsolete and needs to be prepared for combat. Meanwhile, we are receiving only light armor from partners, not necessarily with weapons;
• to obtain fighter jets, anti-aircraft and missile defence systems to protect our skies.
To sum up.
I cannot say that I am satisfied with the tempo and quantity of weapon supplies. Absolutely not.
But at the same time, I am extremelygrateful to the countries that support us. In particular, to the Unites States of America, the United Kingdom, Poland and our Baltic friends. And to all other states that help repel russian evil.
I would like to point out the role of the Ukrainian society and volunteers, who due to their speed and flexibility have successfully satisfied and are still satisfying a number of important needs. This applies to UAVs, communications and some other components with regard to which our state is not yet fully operational.
I want to say that we see not only achievements, but also mistakes. We receive all kinds of signals, including criticism. We know our flaws and work hard to correct them.
I still consider the preservation of synergy in the entire military and political leadership to be our main achievement. This is our advantage as a state, and we will not allow this synergy to be shattered by those who are already working with a focus on ratings and political perspectives. As I have already noted, all those who work to strengthen our defenses for the victory of Ukraine constitute a team. And our common goal is to defeat russia, no matter how hard it may be.
The situation at the front lines is difficult. Every day we have up to 100 of our soldiers killed and up to 500 wounded. The kremlin continues to press by sheer mass, stumbles, faces strong rebuff and suffers huge casualties. But yet still has forces to advance in some parts of the front.
It is important to stay focused. Then Ukraine will win!
Glory to Ukraine!