Kiev isn’t concerned that the old munitions might be dangerous to transport, Kirill Budanov said in his plea for replacement weaponry
Canada should send tens of thousands of old rockets to Kiev instead of destroying them, Kirill Budanov, the head of the Main Directorate of Intelligence of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine (GUR), has said. The request comes as the country insists it needs a steady supply of artillery shells and other munitions that its backers are reportedly growing more reluctant to provide.
Some 83,000 Canadian Rocket Vehicle 7 (CRV7) 70mm ground attack munitions, which were introduced in the 1970s, are currently awaiting demolition at a military depot in Saskatchewan Province, Global News reported on Monday.
Budanov told the Canadian broadcaster that giving the rockets to Kiev would be “a win-win situation” as it’ll help the Ukrainian forces amid the conflict with Russia while saving Canadian taxpayers the cost of destroying them.
According to the spy chief, the CRV7s could be fired by Ukrainian attack helicopters or using ground launchers.
Kiev believes that at least 8,000 munitions should be in pristine condition, the report read. But even the rockets that no longer function would be useful for Ukraine as they could be stripped for parts to make drones, Budanov stressed.
”We need a lot of equipment, both ammunition and munitions in general, artillery munitions — lots of types of equipment,” he said.
Canadian officials confirmed that they were in talks with Ukraine on the issue, but warned that old rockets could be unstable, which makes them dangerous to handle and transport.
“We have no concerns,” Budanov said, explaining that Ukraine has already become accustomed to dealing with older munitions supplied by its foreign backers.
Global News stressed that a contract with a private firm for the demolition of the rockets has already been signed, and Ottawa would have to terminate it in order to fulfill Kiev’s request.
The broadcaster also cited an unnamed Ukrainian colonel in charge of the team getting ready to take possession of the CRV7s if they’ve delivered, who said “we desperately need any type of ammunition we can get.”
Reports of Kiev’s troops suffering from an ammunition shortage have appeared frequently in the Western media over the past several months. In December, the Washington Post reported, citing Ukrainian troops, that gunners could only fire 10 to 20 shells per day, down from 50 earlier in the conflict.
Last month, Ukrainian Brigadier General Aleksandr Tarnavsky told Reuters that the lack of shells was “a very big problem” that existed across the entire front line.
The flow of Western aid to Ukraine has sharply decreased in recent months as Republican US lawmakers continue to resist attempts by the administration of President Joe Biden to push through another $60 billion in assistance for Kiev. The EU only managed to overcome Hungary’s objections and approve 50 million euros ($54 million) in support for the government of Vladimir Zelensky last week.
Another explanation for Ukraine’s shell shortage is believed to be the insufficient level of ammunition production in the West. In early 2023, the EU promised to provide 1 million shells to Ukraine, but, according to the Kiev government, only 300,000 rounds have been delivered so far. The US has vowed to increase the production of NATO standard 155mm shells to 100,000 per month, but this objective is not expected to be reached until 2025.
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