Ukraine acknowledges that it is losing artillery war to Russia.
Ukraine forces are almost out of ammunition and can only rely on Western-supplied arms in the battle against Russia, a top Ukrainian intelligence official has said.
“This is an artillery war now,” Vadim Skibitsky, the deputy head of Ukraine’s military intelligence, told The Guardian on Friday.
Ranged combat is going to decide the outcome of the conflict between the two countries, “and we are losing in terms of artillery,” he acknowledged.
Ukrainian troops are currently firing 5,000 to 6,000 artillery rounds a day, and their stockpiles are running out fast, the intelligence official said.
“We have almost used up all of our [artillery] ammunition and are now using 155-caliber NATO standard shells,” he said.
Kiev is also severely outgunned in the Donbass, having almost run out of the Soviet- and Russia-designed artillery pieces it had at the start of Moscow’s military operation, according to Skibitsky. “Ukraine has one artillery piece to 10 to 15 Russian artillery pieces,” he pointed out.
“Everything now depends on what [the West] gives us,” the intelligence official said. “Our Western partners have given us about 10% of what they have.”
Skibitsky also called upon Kiev’s foreign backers to supply long-range rocket systems that could destroy Russian artillery pieces from afar.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned that if Kiev eventually obtains long-range missiles, “we will draw the appropriate conclusions and use our weapons, which we have enough of, in order to strike at those objects that we have not yet struck.”
Ukraine needed the West to supply as many as 300 multiple rocket launch systems to level the playing field in the Donbass, Mikhail Podolyak, an aide to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, insisted on Thursday.
Earlier this week, the Russian Defense Ministry said that 3,443 Ukrainian tanks and other armored vehicles of Ukraine, 1,807 field artillery pieces and mortars, 1,139 drones, 478 multiple rocket launchers, 190 aircraft and 129 helicopters have been destroyed since the launch of the military operation.
The Russian Occupation Is Impossible To Explain Now, Says Ukraine
A report by The New Voice of Ukraine cited Ukraine Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council Oleksiy Danilov as saying how Russians managed to occupy south of Ukraine is impossible to answer right now.
The report said:
In a comment to U.S. broadcaster Radio Liberty, Danilov said that a meeting of the National Security and Defense Council had been held on this issue. “The issue is quite complex,” Danilov said.
“We had a meeting of the National Security and Defense Council discussing our bordering oblasts (Kherson, Zaporizhzhya, Mykolaiv, Donetsk oblasts) … To date, there is no final answer and without this answer, it will be hard for us to move forward. Therefore, we will definitely get an answer about how this happened and who made the decisions that led to the occupation of the south of Ukraine.”
According to Danilov, the priority for Ukraine right now is to push back the Russian army. “The war is still going and now the priority is to respond to the enemy,” he said.
“Of course, we can start digging into the question of how the occupation of the south happened, but that will lead to certain accusations and political headaches. And politics have been put on hold right now, while we have the enemy to defeat. That is what we should be united against.”
Currently, Russian troops are in control of certain parts of the Zaporizhzhya, Kherson, Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Identifies Side Effects Of Sanctions Against Russia
U.S. sanctions against Russia are having a “huge” impact on the rising food and energy prices at home, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has conceded.
Yellen was asked during the New York Times’ DealBook DC Policy Forum on Thursday if already soaring U.S. gas prices would continue to increase.
“It’s unlikely that gas prices are going to fall anytime soon,” Yellen replied.
She later added that the issue is tied to global oil prices, which have also been rising. “Europe is trying very hard to free themselves from dependence on Russian oil, and our sanctions on Russia… are making a huge difference to food and energy prices,” Yellen said.
“I think our sanctions have been remarkably effective. But we continue to tighten them, and oil prices could go further [up].”
She said that the growth of the U.S. economy will slow, “but there’s nothing to suggest that a recession is in the works.”
Yellen’s comments came two days after she told the Senate that the U.S. has been experiencing “unacceptable levels” of inflation.
Many countries, including the U.S. and EU member states, have imposed embargoes on Moscow since Russia launched its military operation in Ukraine in late February.
The White House banned Russian oil in March, while the EU promised to phase out Russian gas by 2030 and, last week, banned deliveries of Russian oil by sea. Hungary and other countries whose economies are heavily dependent on Russian energy have been allowed to continue receiving Russian oil via pipelines.
Speaking to reporters in March, US President Joe Biden dubbed the high gas prices in the country “the Putin price hike,” referring to the Russian leader.
Soros To Blame For Ukraine Conflict, Says Hungary
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has listed billionaire financier George Soros among the “instigators of war” in Ukraine.
In an interview with Kossuth radio on Friday, Orban said that only peace would curb inflation and save the economy from further shocks, but admitted that Ukraine had “the right to defend itself.”
He also said that Hungary was now virtually the only country that wanted peace. Indeed, Budapest, unlike most other European capitals, has refused to send weapons to Ukraine.
“We need to fund peace, not war,” Orban explained.
However, he did emphasize that there were people who were interested in prolonging the conflict.
“It is now quite obvious that there are business circles that are interested in this war. George Soros symbolizes them. He speaks openly about the need to prolong the war. These are instigators of war who want to cash in on the war,” the prime minister said, adding that such “instigators” should be held responsible.
Last month, speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Soros said the Russian military offensive in Ukraine “may have been the beginning of the Third World War and our civilization may not survive it.” He also claimed that “the best and perhaps only way to preserve our civilization is to defeat Putin as soon as possible.”
Orban has long been one of the harshest critics of Soros. In 2020, the Hungarian prime minister called the billionaire “the most corrupt man in the world,” one that allegedly had “a long list of politicians, journalists, judges, bureaucrats and political agitators masquerading as members of civil society organizations” on his payroll.
In 2017, Orban and Soros exchanged hostile remarks. Orban has accused Soros of attempting to destroy Hungary and Soros, in turn, has claimed that Orban’s government “oppresses people more than during the Soviet occupation.”
Finland Plans To Build Barriers On Its Border With Russia
A Reuters report said:
Finland’s government plans to amend border legislation to allow the building of barriers on its eastern frontier with Russia, it said on Thursday, in a move to strengthen preparedness against hybrid threats amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Finland, which is currently applying for membership in the Western military alliance NATO, has a history of wars with Russia, although currently the forest-covered border zone between the two countries is marked merely with signs and plastic lines for most of its 1,300-km (810-mile) length.
The Finnish government has rushed to strengthen border security as it fears Russia could attempt to put pressure on Finland by sending asylum seekers to its borders – as the European Union accused Belarus of doing at the end of last year when hundreds of migrants from the Middle East, Afghanistan and Africa got stuck on the Polish border.
The Reuters report added:
The government’s amendments to the law include a proposal to enable concentrating the reception of asylum applications only at specific points of entry.
Under existing EU rules, migrants have the right to ask for asylum at any given entry point to an EU member country.
The amendments would also allow the building of barriers such as fences, as well as new roads to facilitate border patrolling on the Finnish side.
“Later on, the government will decide on border barriers to the critical zones on the eastern border, on the basis of the Finnish Border Guard’s assessment,” minister of internal affairs Krista Mikkonen said in a statement.