Photos: Ukraine says Russia has 10-15 times more artillery
The war in Ukraine becomes a war based on artillery attacks. And Ukraine says that even despite massive arms shipments from the West, it needs more artillery weapons to keep Russia at bay. Ukraine is warning Western countries that its survival depends on more arms deliveries, saying it is currently overtaken by Russia in an artillery game.
Vadym Skibitsky, deputy head of Ukrainian military intelligence, told the Guardian in a recent interview that fighting Russia is “an artillery war now”, but warned that his side was losing “in terms of artillery”.
“Ukraine has one artillery piece against 10 to 15 Russian artillery pieces. Our Western partners gave us about 10% of what they had,” Skibitsky said, adding that Ukraine uses thousands of rounds every day and its success depends on more arms deliveries from the West.
During a meeting with British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace on Friday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said a “key priority” is “getting heavy weapons quickly”.
He added: “It is important to defeat the Russian aggressor, to restore the territorial integrity of Ukraine.”
Ukraine has previously and consistently urged Western countries must provide it with longer-range weapons to protect against heavy Russian artillery in the eastern Donbass region – the main theater of the 15-week conflict that has left thousands dead and millions displaced.
Russia is steadily advancing amid heavy fighting in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine. The fighting is particularly fierce in Severodonetsk, a city in the Luhansk region (part of Donbass) seen as crucial to Russian strategy in the east. Zelenskyy warned that the battle for Severodonetsk could decide the fate of Donbass.
Mykhailo Podolyak, senior adviser to Zelenskyy, on Thursday told the BBC that Ukraine was losing 100 to 200 soldiers a day amid the fighting. “Russian forces have launched just about everything non-nuclear onto the front line, including heavy artillery, multiple rocket launch systems and aviation,” Podolyak said, adding, “Our demands artillery are not just a kind of whim… but a necessary objective regarding the situation on the battlefield.
Serhiy Haidai, the governor of the Lugansk region, in a Telegram article on Thursday said that if Ukraine is able to get Western long-range weapons quickly, it will help “clean up Severodonetsk in two or three days”.
Earlier this week, the UK announced that it would send “advanced” guided rocket systems and ammunition to Ukraine to provide the country’s forces with a “significant increase in capacity” – a move that came after US President Joe Biden announced that it would send advanced rocket systems.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, meanwhile, has warned the West against sending more weapons to Kyiv – claiming it would only “prolong” the war while threatening to retaliate by striking new targets in Ukraine.
On Friday, the Ukrainian military intelligence directorate in a telegram station said he believed Russia could “continue the war at its present pace for another year”.
Jake Epstein is a junior Breaking News reporter at the Boston-based Speed Desk.
John Haltiwanger is senior political reporter at Business Insider.