April 21, 2024

Institute for the Study of War: U.S.  military aid to Ukraine could be en route to Ukraine ‘by the end of the week’

Institute for the Study of War

US Senate Intelligence Committee Chairperson Senator Mark Warner reported on April 21 that US provisions of military aid to Ukraine, including long-range ATACMS missiles, will be in transit to Ukraine “by the end of the week” if the Senate passes the supplemental appropriations bill on April 23 and US President Joe Biden signs it by April 24. Warner stated in an interview with CBS News on April 21 that the US presidential administration has been prepared to provide long-range ATACMS to Ukraine, as specified in the bill, for the past several months. Warner emphasized the extensive battlefield impact that Ukrainian forces have achieved using US-provided military assistance, stating that Ukrainian forces have been able to destroy “87 percent of Russian pre-existing ground forces” (potentially in reference to Russia’s pre-full-scale invasion professional force), 67 percent of Russian tanks, and 32 percent of Russian armored personnel carriers (APCs) for the past two years with less than 3 percent of the US defense budget and military aid from the US and Europe. US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin stated on April 20 that the National Security Supplemental that provides support to Ukraine, Israel, and the Indo-Pacific allows about $50 billion to flow into the US defense industrial base (DIB) and will create jobs in over 30 US states. Pentagon Spokesperson Brigadier General Patrick Ryder stated on April 20 that the US Department of Defense (DoD) is considering sending “several additional advisors to augment the Office of Defense Cooperation (OCD)” to the US Embassy in Kyiv. Politico reported on April 20 citing an unidentified individual familiar with the matter that the US advisors in Kyiv will help Ukrainian officials plan to sustain US equipment provided to Ukraine and help US embassy officials in Kyiv coordinate new weapons shipments after the supplemental appropriations bill becomes law, likely as part of an effort to alleviate DoD personnel limitations in documenting certain aid.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stated on April 21 that the swift delivery of US military aid to Ukraine could allow Ukrainian forces to stabilize the frontline and seize the initiative. Zelensky stated during an interview with NBC News that US military support gives Ukraine a chance at victory but warned that Ukrainian battlefield progress will depend on how fast military aid arrives on the frontlines. Zelensky noted that delays in the delivery of military assistance have already contributed to Ukrainian materiel and personnel losses in “several directions.” Zelensky stated that the Ukrainian military is especially anticipating the deliveries of air defense and long-range weapon systems since Ukrainian forces currently lack significant long-range capabilities to prevent Ukrainian casualties on the frontlines. ISW continues to assess that Ukrainian forces may suffer additional setbacks in the coming weeks while waiting for US security assistance that will allow Ukraine to stabilize the front, but they will likely be able to blunt the current Russian offensive assuming the resumed US assistance arrives promptly. Russian forces will likely intensify ongoing offensive operations and missile and drone strikes in the coming weeks in order to exploit the closing window of Ukrainian materiel constraints.

Key Takeaways:

  • US Senate Intelligence Committee Chairperson Senator Mark Warner reported on April 21 that US provisions of military aid to Ukraine, including long-range ATACMS missiles, will be in transit to Ukraine “by the end of the week” if the Senate passes the supplemental appropriations bill on April 23 and US President Joe Biden signs it by April 24.
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stated on April 21 that the swift delivery of US military aid to Ukraine could allow Ukrainian forces to stabilize the frontline and seize the initiative.
  • Ukrainian forces struck and damaged the Russian Black Sea Fleet’s (BSF) Kommuna submarine support ship – the world’s oldest active-duty naval vessel – in occupied Sevastopol, Crimea on April 21.
  • US-sanctioned, pro-Kremlin Moldovan politician Ilan Shor created the new pro-Russian Moldovan Victory electoral bloc on April 21, which plans to run a candidate in the October 20 Moldovan presidential election.
  • The Victory electoral bloc will likely allow the Kremlin to focus on a unified political effort in Moldova instead of maintaining relations with multiple pro-Russian Moldovan actors and parties, as it has done recently.
  • The Russian and Chinese navies signed a memorandum of understanding and cooperation on April 21 amid recent reports of China’s increased support for Russia’s war in Ukraine.
  • The Kremlin blocked domestic access to the website of the French non-governmental organization Reporters Without Borders (RSF), depriving Russians of access to independent assessments of Russian freedom of speech and press.
  • Russian forces recently advanced near Kreminna and Avdiivka and in the Donetsk-Zaporizhia Oblast border area.
  • Russian forces have increased their use of small, lightweight, off-road vehicles along the frontline.

For full report:  

https://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-offensive-campaign-assessment-april-21-2024 

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