WASHINGTON – The operation to supply Ukraine with defense weapons strains allied supply chains, revealing the potential for bottlenecks in the lower echelons, but high-tech weapons needed quickly on a large scale, according to British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace.
“Even a lot of hand-held equipment, such as Stingers or Javelins or NLAWS, is almost as ordered as airplanes,” he told reporters in Washington on Tuesday, referring to the Western Air and Anti-Tank Weapons Tribe, which Ukrainian forces have successfully disposed of. used against Russian invaders.
Because the production capacity of some of these weapons is limited, dwindling ammunition stockpiles are a kind of old-school mystery that contrasts with the multibillion-dollar ships and planes commonly considered the pinnacles of modern warfare, Wallace said.
“I think this is a really important lesson and I think we all need to come together to understand how we are going to deal with this,” he added.
Wallace shared his assessment of the war in Ukraine while in Washington to meet with US counterpart Lloyd Austin. Also on the agenda for the week was a meeting with transatlantic defense leaders organized by the Munich Security Conference.
The British defense minister said he did not believe Russian leaders around President Vladimir Putin saw Western arms support for Ukraine as a change in their escalation calculations. “Because if the shoe was on the other foot, they would do exactly the same thing,” he told reporters. “So what we’re definitely seeing is that they’re not as excited about lethal help as you might think.
Russian soldiers killed in Ukraine are of little importance to Russian generals, Wallace said, as commanders throw more and more “cannon fodder” into battle to compensate for the lack of technology from Russian forces and the lack of joint combat skills.
Economic punishment from the West, on the other hand, seems to be hitting Moscow harder because the consequences are becoming apparent to the population, which is potentially putting pressure on the government from within. “They’re more annoyed by the sanctions because you can’t hide that from your people,” Wallace said. “You can hide bodies; you can’t completely hide your inflation. “
Meanwhile, US National Intelligence Director Avril Haynes told senators that the Russian military appears to be gearing up for a protracted battle, limiting fighting to Donbass and southern Ukraine only as a temporary tactic, The Guardian reported on Tuesday.
Haynes spoke on Capitol Hill about the global threats facing the United States. She said the prospects for peace talks are bleak at the moment.
“Because Russia and Ukraine believe they can continue to advance militarily, we do not see a viable path for negotiations, at least in the short term,” Haynes said.
In the same way, Wallace said that the war is unfolding in an unpredictable way, without a way of knowing what the end of the game might look like. “Only President Putin can know where his ramp will be.
Worried about the war as a source of instability for the world economy, China is unlikely to intervene on Russia’s side, Wallace predicts. “I think China is probably quite embarrassed by Putin’s behavior as an awkward friend,” he said.
Sebastian Sprenger is a European editor of Defense News, who reports on the state of the defense market in the region and on US-European cooperation and multinational investment in defense and global security. He was previously the editor-in-chief of Defense News.