Amid concerns of Ukraine pushing its demand for NATO-standard weapons to the limit, the country, on Monday, 13 June, has asked the West to supply 1,000 Howitzers, 500 tanks and 300 rocket launchers before the Contact Group of Defence Ministers meeting on Wednesday.
Taking to Twitter, Mykhailo Podolyak, Adviser to the President, argued that Ukraine required “heavy weapons parity” to “end the war.”
Podolyak’s full list states that Ukraine needs, “1000 caliber 55 mm caliber Howitzers, 300 MLRS’, 500 tanks, 2,000 armoured vehicles and 1000 drones”.
The Presidential Advisor’s mentioned requirements of 300 multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS), vastly higher than the seven currently committed by the US and UK, according to The Guardian.
Brussels is set to host a special meeting of defence ministers, chaired by US defence secretary Lloyd Austin, to discuss weapons donations.
This would be the third such meeting since the beginning of the war with Austin’s British counterpart, Ben Wallace, also set to attend.
The meeting takes places under the backdrop of Ukraine’s military struggling to resist the Russian artillery-led assault in east Donbas. On some days, the country has been losing almost 200 soldiers in what is the heaviest fighting in Europe since the Second World War.
Ukrainian frustration also stems from German weapons, including Gepard mobile artillery and howitzers, committed to arrive at the end of April but delayed till the end of June. Meanwhile, specialist armoured vehicles will need another month to arrive.
Hopes to Establish Military Balance
Podolyak’s demands will significantly alter the currently lopsided military balance.
According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies, the US army currently has 363 Himars rocket artillery trucks and 225 M270 tracked launchers, with the Marines possessing a further 47. On the other hand, UK has only 35 of its versions of the M270s. Podolyak’s demand would dig into half of the US’ reserve.
While a Ukrainian Presidential Adviser, military analyst Oleksiy Atrstovych said that Kyiv would need about 60 rocket launchers to stop Russian invaders, Ukraine’s demand has clocked in at 100 rocket launchers, much more than current offers from the West.
While the West said that they would only supply defensive weapons to Ukraine, both before and during the initial stages of the war, to either deter an invasion or to halt Russian military advances.
However, Russia’s significant occupation of eastern and southern Ukraine led to calls for more more force to be applied.
(With inputs from The Guardian)