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  4. Ukraine would be outgunned 'ten to one' by Russia in weeks without US help, says top general in Europe

Ukraine would be outgunned 'ten to one' by Russia in weeks without US help, says top general in Europe

Christopher Cavoli, the head of the European Command, said Russia was currently firing five artillery shells for every one fired by Ukraine and can launch large-scale attacks daily. The US Congress has delayed passing its $60 billion supplemental bill due to pressure from Republicans.

Edited By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee Washington Published on: April 10, 2024 23:37 IST
US, Russia Ukraine war, US support to Ukraine
Image Source : REUTERS (FILE) Supreme Allied Commander Europe, General Christopher Cavoli.

Washington: Army General Christopher Cavoli, the top US general in Europe, told the Congress on Wednesday that Ukraine is running out of time and will be outgunned "10 to one" by Russia in a matter of weeks if the US is unable to find a way to approve sending more ammunition and weapons to Kyiv. This comes after the US House of Representatives, controlled by Republicans, refused a call a vote on the bill that would provide $60 billion to Ukraine.

Cavoli, the head of European Command, told the House Armed Services Committee that Russia was currently firing five artillery shells for every one fired by Ukrainian forces and that disparity could increase in the coming weeks to 10 to one. "We're not talking about months. We're not talking hypothetically," he added.

Ukraine has been rationing its munitions as Congress has delayed passing its $60 billion supplemental bill. Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson has been trying to find a way forward for the bill that would fund new rounds of munitions production at US firms to enable the Pentagon to then rush more munitions to Ukraine. He is facing concerns from members who cite domestic needs, including border security.

Situation in Ukraine

"If one side can shoot and the other side can't shoot back, the side that can't shoot back loses. So the stakes are very high... They're really dependent this year on us, Mr. Chairman. And without our support, they will not be able to prevail," Cavoli said. Some lawmakers voiced increasing frustration with the lack of progress on funding for Ukraine, a measure passed by the Senate already.

The US State Department on Tuesday greenlit an emergency $138 million in foreign military sales for Ukraine to provide critical repairs and spare parts for Kyiv's Hawk missile systems. The announcement follows a similar, small-sized round of $300 million in munitions support the Pentagon announced last month after it was able to convert contract savings to be able to offset the cost of providing the aid.

The biggest killer on the battlefield is artillery. In most conflicts, but in this one definitely. And should Ukraine run out, they would run out because we stopped supplying — because we supply the lion's share of that,” Cavoli said. Russia's own production of missiles has ramped up and can launch large-scale attacks every few days, which can cripple Ukraine's economy if its defence stocks run out, he added. He also said Ukraine's loss could imperil other Baltic NATO member countries and potentially drag US troops into a prolonged European war.

Pressure within US to assist Ukraine

Johnson is resisting pressure from some Republicans to assist Ukraine. is also facing a threat to his leadership role from his far-right flank by Georgia Republican Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene who has called for his ouster over the issue. Democratic US Representative Elissa Slotkin of Michigan said Johnson should put on his "big boy pants" and make a tough choice, even at the risk of losing his job.

“House members are continuing to actively discuss our options on a path forward. “It's a very complicated matter at a very complicated time. The clock is ticking on it, and everyone here feels the urgency of that, but what's required is that you reach consensus on it, and that's what we're working on," Johnson said at a Capitol Hill press conference on Wednesday.

President Joe Biden's administration has voiced concern about the lack of funding for Ukraine. Last month, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin warned that Ukraine's survival was in danger and sought to convince allies the U.S. was committed to Kyiv. Officials say the lack of funding available is already having an impact on the ground in Ukraine, where Russian troops are advancing and Ukrainian forces must manage limited resources.

Meanwhile, Russian air strikes on Ukraine's northeastern Kharkiv region on Wednesday afternoon hit a clinic and a pharmacy, killing at least three people. Russian attacks have long targeted Kharkiv and the surrounding region, but the strikes have grown more intense in recent weeks, hitting civilian and energy infrastructure.

(with inputs from agencies)

ALSO READ | US announces $138 million in emergency military sales of Hawk missile systems support for Ukraine

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