Slow aid for Ukraine 'helps' Russia advance

BURNING. A building of the Odesa Law Academy is on fire after a Russian missile attack in Odesa, Ukraine, Monday, April 29, 2024. /
BURNING. A building of the Odesa Law Academy is on fire after a Russian missile attack in Odesa, Ukraine, Monday, April 29, 2024. / AP

KYIV, Ukraine — Countries that are members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (Nato) haven’t delivered what they promised to Ukraine in time, the alliance’s chief said Monday, April 29, 2024, allowing Russia to press its advantage while Kyiv’s depleted forces wait for military supplies to arrive from the U.S. and Europe.

“Serious delays in support have meant serious consequences on the battlefield” for Ukraine, Nato Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told a news conference in Kyiv with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Outgunned, Ukraine’s troops have struggled to fend off Russian advances on the battlefield. They were recently compelled to make a tactical retreat from three villages in the east, where the Kremlin’s forces have been making incremental gains, Ukraine’s army chief said Sunday. The Russian Defense Ministry claimed Monday its forces had also taken the village of Semenivka.

“The lack of ammunition has allowed the Russians to push forward along the front line. Lack of air defense has made it possible for more Russian missiles to hit their targets, and the lack of deep strike capabilities has made it possible for the Russians to concentrate more forces,” Stoltenberg said.

Kyiv’s Western partners have repeatedly vowed to stand with Ukraine “for as long as it takes.” But vital U.S. military help was held up for six months by political differences in Washington, and Europe’s military hardware production has not kept up with demand. Ukraine’s own manufacturing of heavy weapons is only now starting to gain traction.

Now, Ukraine and its Western partners are racing to deploy critical new military aid that can help check the slow and costly but steady Russian advance across eastern areas, as well as thwart drone and missile attacks.

Zelenskyy said new Western supplies have started arriving, but slowly. “This process must be speeded up,” he said at the news conference with Stoltenberg.

Russian offensive

Though the 1,000-kilometer front line has shifted little since early in the war, the Kremlin’s forces in recent weeks have edged forward, especially in the Donetsk region, with sheer numbers and massive firepower used to bludgeon defensive positions.

Russia also continues to launch missiles, drones and bombs at cities across Ukraine. At least four people were killed and 27 injured in a Russian missile strike on residential buildings and “civil infrastructure” in the southern Ukrainian port city of Odesa on Monday, regional governor Oleh Kiper said on the Telegram messaging site.

A turreted Gothic-style building known locally as the “Harry Potter Castle,” was seen in flames after the strike.

Russia is a far bigger country than Ukraine, with greater resources. It has also received weapons support from Iran and North Korea, the U.S. government says.

Drawn-out Ukrainian efforts to mobilize more troops, and the belated building of battlefield fortifications, are other factors undermining Ukraine’s war effort, military analysts say. / AP

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