- Allies of Ukraine are shifting their focus from donating weapons to repairing and sustaining the existing equipment, according to a report.
- This strategic shift reflects the recognition that the war is expected to continue for an extended period of time.
- Ukraine’s counteroffensive has resulted in significant damage to Western-donated vehicles, making their repair and maintenance crucial.
The focus of Western support for Ukraine’s war effort has shifted from donating additional weapons to the repair and maintenance of existing equipment, states a report.
This change in strategy is a response to the understanding that the war is likely to endure for an extended period, as stated by William LaPlante, the Pentagon’s acquisition and sustainment chief, in an interview with Politico.
LaPlante emphasized the need for repair facilities in Europe, the translation of training and repair manuals, and greater collaboration among partner nations in order to address these repair and maintenance requirements.
During Ukraine’s counteroffensive against Russian occupation, some of the Western-donated equipment, such as US-made Bradley fighting vehicles and German Leopard tanks, have been lost or damaged.
Russian defense lines and dense minefields have proven more challenging to penetrate than initially anticipated, resulting in the need for repair work on Western armored vehicles. Despite damage, Ukrainian soldiers have praised these vehicles for saving lives and minimizing injuries, according to several reports from Washington Post and The Times.
Repairing these vehicles and returning them to service is a top priority, as highlighted in the Politico report.
The Times of London visited a secret repair workshop near the frontline, where they witnessed the repair and restoration of Western-supplied armored vehicles, including ones that had sustained direct hits from tanks but were only lightly damaged.
Lieutenant Serhii Ivanov, overseeing the repair of a British-built Wolfhound armored vehicle, expressed his surprise at the vehicle’s ability to withstand enemy fire and credited it with saving lives. He stated, “After a few battles in one of these, no one wants to go back to the old Soviet BTR or anything like it. By comparison, that’s a coffin, a 100 percent chance of death,” as reported by The Times.
The US-made mine-resistant armored fighting vehicles have also been praised by Ukrainian troops for their near-indestructible nature.
A coalition of 22 nations, led by the US, Poland, and the UK, is undertaking efforts to ensure the functionality of billions of dollars’ worth of equipment already present in Ukraine, enabling the continuation of the counteroffensive.
The coalition is coordinating repair facilities and assisting Ukraine in establishing a supply support system to effectively manage high-demand spare parts. Politico notes that the wide diversity of equipment from multiple supply lines poses challenges for Kyiv.
Ukraine has expressed concerns regarding the readiness rates of the equipment, as they primarily rely on either decades-old Russian equipment or relatively new weapons. Many of the Western-donated equipment arrived in need of repair, and the major repair work needs to take place in countries like Poland or Czechia.
In contrast, Russia possesses substantial stockpiles of equipment that it can continue to rely on.
Despite the challenges, Ukraine’s allies have successfully established a repair infrastructure over the past year, as highlighted by LaPlante’s comments to Politico. The collaboration between teams on the ground and their ability to quickly address repair issues is crucial in sustaining the Ukrainian forces.
“The sustainment is actually most of the work going on right now,” said LaPlante, emphasizing the role played by the Ukrainians in this effort and ensuring they have the necessary support to continue their operations.