July 6, 2022

Russia has invaded Ukraine, and protests continue in Mariupol

According to a defense official, the United States hopes that Russia will target the routes used for arms exports in an effort to slow the supply of US and allied weapons flowing into Ukraine.

Russian forces do not frequently attack moving targets such as convoys or rail supplies, but they may try to destroy bridges, roads and tracks used to carry weapons and goods into the country, the official said.

The official said that even if the Russians succeeded in attacking those routes, they would not be able to stop exports altogether. There are simply too many exports.

Weapons in Ukraine: The United States and its allies have sent about 70,000 anti-tank and anti-armor weapons into Ukraine, including javelins, NLAWs, RPGs and more. Exports include approximately 30,000 anti-aircraft missiles such as the Stingers and about 7,000 missiles for these weapons.

Earlier this month, Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Mille told the Senate Arms Services Committee that about 60,000 anti-tank weapons and 25,000 anti-aircraft weapons had been sent to the country. Since then, the United States has approved hundreds of millions more dollars in military aid.

Slowing down the Russian invasion: The United States and NATO have estimated that Ukrainian forces are using these systems most effectively to slow and prevent Russian invasion in some areas. Part of that success came from the adaptation of Ukraine’s decentralized command and control, which allowed younger commanders to make important war decisions without much recognition, the official said.

Russia retains some advantages: The official noted that Ukraine had been preparing for a Russian offensive in southeastern Ukraine for years because of the regular fighting between Ukrainian forces and Russian-backed representatives in the Donbass region.

The official said Ukraine had prepared trenches, anti-shield bunkers and more ahead of the immediate fighting, but warned that Russia still retained advantage in military technology and overall military power. Instead of spreading that power over much of Ukraine, it is now concentrating on a massive offensive in the south and east.