February 9, 2024

Institute for the Study of War:  Ukraine faces a critical shortage of missiles and interceptors

Institute for the Study of War

The Russian online community noted that Russian President Vladimir Putin did not offer any new information in his interview with American media personality Tucker Carlson and simply repeated longstanding Kremlin talking points about Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine for American audiences. Prominent Russian milbloggers claimed that Putin did not say anything new and framed the interview as a Russian attempt to infiltrate Western mainstream media rather than to make any fundamentally new arguments or to address Russian audiences. One milblogger claimed that Putin’s interview aimed to promote Russian foreign policy to Americans who are actively engaged on social media and explained Putin’s repetition of tired Kremlin talking points as a summary of Russia’s justifications for its invasion of Ukraine for American voters. Sources close to the Russian Presidential Administration similarly told Russian opposition outlet Meduza that Putin’s interview was not designed for a Russian audience and that the Kremlin intended to generate informational effects and hysteria in the West. One of Meduza’s interlocutors added that the interview’s secondary objective was to show Russian domestic audiences that Putin can still shape global discourse based on the popularity of the interview but did not offer an assessment of Putin’s success in this regard.

Kremlin sources focused on presenting the interview as a massively successful and popular Russian effort to shape the information environment in the West and claimed that the interview demonstrated that Putin is an influential world leader. Kremlin Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov claimed that American interest in Putin’s interview was “undeniable” and that the Kremlin is interested in the reaction to the interview abroad as it continues to prioritize observing the domestic response to the interview. Russian occupation officials celebrated a claim that the interview surpassed 60 million views and claimed that the world is increasingly interested in Putin’s opinion and his ”truths.”

Delays in Western aid appear to be exacerbating Ukraine’s current artillery shortages and could impact Ukraine’s long-term war effort. The Financial Times (FT) reported on February 9 that Ukraine is struggling with artillery shortages amid delayed US aid and Europe’s anticipated failure to meet its March 2024 deadline of providing one million artillery shells to Ukraine. An unnamed senior US military official told FT that delayed US aid risks creating an “air bubble” or a “gap in the hose” of Western aid to Ukraine and leaving Ukraine without Western aid for an unspecified period of time. The official stated that the Pentagon is particularly concerned about Ukraine’s ability to maintain its air defense systems and ammunition supplies, and a senior European diplomat warned that it will be difficult for Ukraine to even maintain its current positions without Western materiel. ISW continues to assess that the collapse of Western aid to Ukraine would likely lead to the eventual collapse of Ukraine’s ability to defend itself and hold off the Russian military and could allow Russian forces to push all the way to western Ukraine closer to the borders of NATO member states. Another European official expressed concern over Europe’s ability to substitute the volume of assistance that the US previously provided to Ukraine. Ukrainian Ambassador to the US Oksana Markarova told Bloomberg on February 8 that Ukraine is facing a ”critical shortage” in military equipment, particularly missiles and interceptors. Ukrainian military officials recently warned that Ukraine is rationing air defense equipment and ammunition while attempting to adapt and respond to large-scale Russian drone and missile strikes.

Key Takeaways:

  • The Russian online community noted that Russian President Vladimir Putin did not offer any new information in his interview with American media personality Tucker Carlson and simply repeated longstanding Kremlin talking points about Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine for American audiences.
  • Russian Security Council Deputy Chairperson Dmitry Medvedev noted that Putin told the Western world in the most thorough and detailed way why Ukraine did not exist, does not exist, and will not exist.
  • Delays in Western aid appear to be exacerbating Ukraine’s current artillery shortages and could impact Ukraine’s long-term war effort.
  • Newly appointed Ukrainian Commander-in-Chief Colonel General Oleksandr Syrskyi identified several of his goals as commander of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
  • Ukrainian actors reportedly conducted a successful drone strike against two oil refineries in Krasnodar Krai on February 9.
  • Ukrainian military officials reported that Russian forces are increasing their use of illegal chemical weapons in Ukraine, in an apparent violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), to which Russia is a signatory.
  • Bloomberg reported on February 9 that Ukraine is considering economic reforms in order to secure funding from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in the event that the US Congress continues to block crucial aid.
  • Russian forces advanced near Kreminna, Bakhmut, and Avdiivka amid continued positional engagements along the frontline.
  • Russian paramilitary organization Novorossiya Aid Coordination Center (KCPN) is training drone operators in east (left) bank Kherson Oblast near Krynky.
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