The US and its allies are shifting their focus from providing Ukraine with more weapons to repairing the Western hardware that has already been sent to Kiev, according to a report by Politico. Since the start of the conflict with Moscow in February 2022, Ukraine has faced challenges in maintaining the “international hodgepodge of equipment” provided by countries such as the US, Germany, UK, Poland, and others.
The need to quickly repair damaged hardware has become even more crucial since the launch of the counteroffensive in early June. Kiev’s forces have encountered difficulties and suffered losses of US-made Bradley fighting vehicles, mine-resistant troop carriers, and German Leopard tanks.
To assist Ukraine, the US and its allies are establishing repair facilities in Europe and translating training and repair manuals. The Pentagon’s acquisition and sustainment chief, William LaPlante, emphasized the importance of working together to provide the necessary support. He stated, “We’re making sure that they [the Ukrainians] have everything they need. And if the parts have to come from a country halfway around the world, we make sure we get it to them. So the sustainment is actually most of the work going on right now.”
LaPlante leads a 22-nation working group, including the US, Poland, and the UK, dedicated to ensuring the functionality of Western-supplied weapons during Ukraine’s conflict with Russia. Regular conversations with Kiev are held to assess its needs and determine if additional parts can be sent. The group has also helped Ukraine establish a support effort to track over 4,000 supply lines for high-demand spare parts and translated over 700 technical manuals into Ukrainian for local technicians to fix the weapons.
Nevertheless, the most significant repair work still needs to be shipped to countries like Poland or Czechia before being sent back to Ukraine. Despite the ongoing efforts to assist Ukraine in repairing the Western hardware, there are logistical challenges in providing immediate repairs directly on-site.
Russia has consistently criticized Western arms deliveries to Ukraine, arguing that they only serve to prolong the conflict. The Kremlin claims that providing weapons, intelligence sharing, and training to Kiev’s troops implicates the US and its allies as de facto parties to the conflict. However, the US and its allies maintain that their support is aimed at assisting Ukraine in defending itself against Russian aggression.
In conclusion, the US and its allies are prioritizing the repair and maintenance of Western-supplied hardware already in Ukraine over sending additional weapons. The establishment of repair facilities, translation of manuals, and coordination with Kiev are crucial steps to ensure that Ukraine has the necessary support to effectively defend itself. However, logistical challenges remain in providing immediate on-site repairs, requiring certain components to be shipped elsewhere for repair before being returned to Ukraine.