Defense chief wants advanced weapons tests against Russians

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Ukraine openly offers itself as a place where NATO allies can donate and demonstrate advanced weapons in real combat scenarios. The countries would then benefit from the combat experience of Ukrainian soldiers using these weapons against Russian forces, according to Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov.

Ukraine “is basically a testing ground,” Reznikov said July 19 in a live web chat with John Herbst, senior director of the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center. The entire interview can be seen in the video below.

“Many weapons are now being tested in the field in real battle conditions against the Russian army, which has many modern systems,” Reznikov said. “It has electronic warfare and signals intelligence tools, air defenses, cruise missiles and ballistic missiles, among other equipment.”

Ukraine uses Western weapons like High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), Polish Krab 155mm artillery systems and shoulder-fired air defense missiles and anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM ) against a nearby opponent. It also collects information on the performance and effectiveness of these and other systems and shares that data with arms manufacturers and the countries that donated them to Ukraine, Reznikov said.

“We are interested in testing modern systems in the fight against the enemy, and we invite arms manufacturers to test new products here,” he said. “Some different types of equipment are just starting on our battlefield, for example, the Polish Krab artillery systems. It’s a really organic unit, but they’re distinct in this Russian-Ukrainian war. So I think that for our partners in Poland, USA, France or Germany, this is a good opportunity to test the material. So give us the tools. We will finish the job and you will have all the new information.

Powerful nations using conflict to test military equipment in real-world scenarios is nothing new. The US military demonstrated precision-guided munitions to the world in the 1990-1991 Gulf War. Nazi Germany infamously exploited the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s to test its newly developed tanks and aircraft, as well as hone the Blitzkrieg tactics it would later use to conquer most of continental Europe. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been used to prove new technologies and tactics, while for Russia the civil war in Syria has become both a testing ground and a weapons demonstration arena for opportunities. export.

The situation in Ukraine is not identical to any of these scenarios, but it does provide a venue for the United States to test advanced military technology against a somewhat sophisticated enemy. It is an opportunity that has not been afforded to him in the past two decades of fighting global terrorism and insurgent wars in the Middle East and Asia.

Reznikov said he was confident that the United States and other NATO countries would provide Ukraine with weapons of increasing range as the Ukrainian military continues to show its proficiency in using the weapons at its disposal. While US political rhetoric still excludes weapons capable of striking well beyond the Russian-Ukrainian border, the US has already greatly expanded the types of weapons it sends to Ukraine, Reznikov said.

“These decisions will be easier once our partners are confident that we are fulfilling all our obligations and using all the equipment we have already received effectively,” he said. “In November 2021, I was told in Washington, DC, that we would never have Stingers because it just wasn’t possible. It was so against the law. This story has been repeated over and over again. and many times.”

Ukraine has indeed received significant quantities – well over 1,400 – of Stinger man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS) and used them to devastating effect against Russian aircraft. Thousands of other MANPADS were also donated by other countries. The US government then included M777 towed howitzers in military aid programs to Ukraine, followed by HIMARS, and then more recently promised Kyiv two national advanced surface-to-air missile systems, or ground-based air defense systems. NASAMS, Reznikov pointed out.

“Therefore, I remain optimistic,” Reznikov said. “The Ukrainians will be very grateful for your help in receiving such weapons. For me, the word impossible means possible in the future.

Before we dive into what happened in the past 24 hours in Ukraine, catch up on our previous continuing coverage of the war here.

Another plane was shot down over Lyubimovka in Kherson Oblast, although it was not immediately clear which plane was hit or which side it belonged to. Ukrainian officials say it was a Russian Su-35 Flanker, one of Russia’s most advanced twin-engine fighters. Several videos emerged of the plane exploding in the air and spinning on the ground.

Russia claimed a drone was shot down, but other videos show the aftermath of the crash from afar and what appears to be the pilot, after ejecting, floating towards the ground with a parachute. The presence of a pilot confirms that the aircraft was a manned aircraft and not a drone.

A Russian Mi-24/35 Hind helicopter was later seen flying over the apparent crash site, possibly looking for the ejected pilot. The Mi-24/35 series is unique in that it has a cockpit and can provide end-to-end combat search and rescue missions without other types of helicopters, under certain circumstances. You can read all about this ability here.

Russian conversations on social media and the Telegram messaging site suggest the shooting was another friendly fire incident, a day after Russian air defenses appear to have shot down their own Su-34 attack fighter.

Russia continues to launch an all-out offensive to seize the Donbass region, which is its stated immediate objective, according to the latest intelligence assessment from the UK Ministry of Defence. Prior to the invasion, the six Russian field armies engaged in the offensive numbered around 150,000 soldiers, but the forces mainly operate as company-sized units of around 100 troops each, the ministry said. of the British Defence. Russia lost a significant portion of this force in heavy fighting along the extended front lines to the east, but even with superior numbers their fractured coordination would reduce their effectiveness on the battlefield.

Russia’s inability to maintain offensive combat power, a problem since the Feb. 24 invasion, is worsening as intense fighting continues in the east, according to Britain’s Defense Ministry.

“In addition to facing severe understaffing, Russian planners face a dilemma between deploying reserves to Donbass or defending against Ukrainian counterattacks in the southwestern sector of Kherson,” the statement said. UK assessment. “Although Russia may still make further territorial gains, its operational tempo and pace of advance will likely be very slow without a significant operational pause for reorganization and refit.”

Frontline maps, like the one below showing the situation on July 19, have changed little for several days.

On July 19, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg made an impassioned appeal to the members of the alliance not only to continue to support Ukraine with economic, humanitarian and military assistance, but to they are committed to doing so for the long term.

“It comes at a price,” Stoltenberg said. “But the price of not supporting them is much higher. Because for me, it’s a moral question. It is a sovereign and independent nation with 40 million inhabitants in Europe, which is brutally attacked by a great power: Russia.

Stoltenberg went on to say that it is in NATO’s interest to support Ukraine because if Russia were to win the war, the rest of Europe would be more vulnerable to similar attacks. Latvia appears to agree, as officials there have called for a military draft to prepare for a possible Russian attack.

“If Ukraine loses this, it’s a danger for us,” he said. “This will make Europe even more vulnerable to Russian aggression, because the lessons learned from Georgia in 2008, the annexation of Crimea in 2014, the start of the undermining of Donbass in 2014, and then the invasion full-fledged brutal by President Putin in February, is that they can simply use force to get their will in. It’s about re-establishing the idea of ​​spheres of influence, where the great powers can decide what can do the little neighbors. And that will make us all more vulnerable. So even if you don’t care about the moral aspect of it, supporting the Ukrainian people, you should care about your own security interest.

Ukrainian First Lady Olena Zelenska was in Washington, DC today to meet with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and other federal government officials.

Kira Rudik, a prominent member of the Ukrainian parliament, was also in Washington, DC, for meetings with his congressional counterparts.

Russia has released video seen from a missile of a strike on the Pidyomnyy Bridge in Odessa. Accounts from warwatchers seemed to agree that the missile was likely a Kh-59 Ovod cruise missile.

Ukrainian artillery also targeted a bridge over the Dnipro River in Kherson, apparently to prevent Russian armaments and vehicles from entering the area. All Russian military personnel and equipment in Kherson cross the Antonovskiy Bridge. So far, Russia has struggled with river crossings during the war and suffered a disastrous, highly publicized setback while trying to cross the Donets River.

The casing of what appears to be an M31A1 Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) fired either by a HIMARS or a NATO-donated M270 tracked launcher has been found in a field in Donetsk Oblast . The M31A1 has a unitary warhead, which means it carries a single explosive charge rather than cluster munitions.

The same ammunition appears to have been used to destroy a Russian Podlet-K1 low-altitude S-band surveillance radar at Nova Kakhovka, Kherson. Ukraine uses guided munitions to strike high value targets one at a time and have a deep impact on the battlefield with relatively few hits. Destroying this radar could partially blind Russian forces to future incoming Ukrainian missiles and airstrikes.

This is important because the Ukrainian Air Force is still able to fly all over the country and launch strikes on Russian positions, as seen in the video below.

HIMARS have become so popular in Ukraine that they have inspired a pop song, like the Javelin ATGM and the TB2 Bayraktar drone since the start of the war. The staccato tune repeats the chant “HI-MARS” between short bursts of sassy lyrics like “Muscovites and their ammunition are in warehouses. When they do, it goes ‘BOOM!’ according to the English subtitles that accompany a music video.

Here is Bayraktar’s song, for comparison. According to Twitter, the songs were written by the same composer.

We will continue to update this post until we say otherwise.

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