May 24, 2022

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Russia invades Ukraine, resistance continues in Mariupol

Russia invades Ukraine, resistance continues in Mariupol

The United States believes Russia will target the routes used for arms shipments, according to a defense official, in an effort to slow the flow of U.S. and partner arms into Ukraine.

The official said that Russian forces have not repeatedly bombed moving targets such as convoys or rail shipments, but may try to destroy bridges, roads and barriers used to transport weapons and supplies into the country.

Even if the Russians succeeded in hitting those routes, the official said, they would not be able to stop the shipments completely. Simply put, there are a lot of incoming shipments.

Weapons in Ukraine: The official said the United States and partner countries have shipped nearly 70,000 anti-tank and anti-armor weapons to Ukraine, including Javelins, NLAWs, RPGs, and more. The shipments also included almost 30 thousand anti-aircraft missiles, such as Stingers, and about 7 thousand launchers for these weapons.

Earlier this month, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley told the Senate Armed Services Committee that about 60,000 anti-tank weapons and 25,000 anti-aircraft guns have been sent into the country. Since then, the United States has allowed hundreds of millions of dollars in military assistance.

Slow down the Russian invasion: The United States and NATO assessed that Ukrainian forces used these systems very effectively to slow and in some places thwart the Russian invasion. Part of that success has come from Ukraine’s adaptation of decentralized command and control that allows junior commanders to make important battlefield decisions without a higher mandate, the official said.

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Russia retains some advantages: The official also noted that Ukraine has years to prepare for the Russian offensive in southeastern Ukraine, where the Donbass region has seen regular fighting between Ukrainian forces and Russian-backed proxies.

The official said Ukraine had prepared trenches, anti-armor ambushes and more ahead of this impending battle, but cautioned that Russia still retains the advantage of military technology and overall military power. Instead of spreading that force over most of Ukraine, it is now concentrated in the south and east for what would be a full-scale offensive.