Ukraine’s military is depleting Soviet-era ammunition that is incompatible with older systems as the country implores the West to deliver additional heavy weapons and Russia builds up a major artillery advantage around two strategically vital cities in eastern Ukraine.
According to various individuals knowledgeable with US and other Western information, Western intelligence and military officials think Russia’s war in Ukraine is at a key stage that will decide the conflict’s long-term fate.
This critical time may also compel Western countries to make a difficult choice, since their backing for Ukraine has come at a gradually growing cost to their economy and weapons stockpiles.
According to a senior US military source, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin is set to convene a working group of almost 50 countries to discuss the issue on Wednesday, when the US anticipates fresh announcements of arms and equipment packages for Ukraine. Ukrainian authorities have voiced dissatisfaction that these critical weapons are arriving piecemeal in the conflict, raising worries that Western support may be eroding at a critical juncture.
“I believe you’re going to reach a point where one side or the other will win,” a senior NATO official said. “Either the Russians will reach Slovyansk and Kramatorsk, or they will be stopped here by the Ukrainians. And it will matter if the Ukrainians are able to maintain the line in the face of such a large force.”