Ukraine Update: West Can Not Sustain Prolonged Conflict In Ukraine, Says Pentagon Supplier

ukraine troops

The West does not have the stockpiles of weapons needed to sustain a prolonged military campaign in Ukraine or elsewhere, the CEO of one of the Pentagon’s main defense contractors has warned.

The military-industrial complex therefore needs a “clear demand signal” from Western governments on what exactly it should produce and whether it will be purchased, Kathy Warden told the Financial Times in an interview published on Sunday.

“The most important thing now is to get a clear demand signal on what the sustained commitment is and the level of drawdown from those stockpiles is going to be,” she explained.

Existing weapon stockpiles were not designed for a prolonged conflict, Warden said. However, the West is not yet running out of arms for Ukraine.

She said, “I would not necessarily say that I have heard we are running out, but if you do project forward that we are going to want to sustain these levels of commitments for another couple of years – that is certainly not what anyone had built stockpiles to accommodate.”

The Pentagon’s main contractors have been meeting several times a week to discuss efforts to supply Ukraine. The dialogue with the Pentagon was “good.” Warden said, and further discussions are ongoing about “getting clarity on their plans.”

“They have been doing their best to pull industry together and share those plans, both at a more general level and specific, so that we can get ahead of contract and make investment and advance,” she added.

While Northrop Grumman is ready to invest and even expand its factories “ahead of a contract” the industry still needs more clarity about Washington’s plans to support Ukraine, Warden warned. The military-industrial complex needs to “get an indication that if we build it, the demand will come.”

The U.S. is become Kiev’s top supplier in the ongoing conflict, allocating billions to prop up Ukraine in its fight against Russia.

Global supply chain issues have doubled or tripled the company’s turnaround time in some cases, Warden said.

Another defense company has already begun to procure the necessary components in anticipation of contracts for more weapons, but there is a risk that the produced weapons will not be ultimately used, the newspaper noted.

Germany Would Not Survive Winter Without Russian Gas

Germany’s natural gas reserves are not enough to see the country through next winter without purchasing additional Russian gas, the top official in charge of electricity and gas networks has told the media.

In an interview with Germany’s Bild am Sonntag, published on Sunday, Klaus Muller warned that while “gas reservoirs are nearly 65% full,” and “it is better than in the previous weeks” it is still not sufficient to “go through the winter without Russian gas.”

Muller, who is president of Germany’s Federal Network Agency, added that much now depends on whether maintenance work on the Nord Stream 1 pipeline concludes as expected on Thursday.

When asked how long it would take before energy prices for consumers in Germany are further raised, in case of a complete stoppage of Russian gas deliveries, Muller said no decision has yet been made.

The energy regulator president insisted that Germans “should not succumb to panic,” assuring that “private households have the least reason of all to worry,” and will be provided with gas far longer than industry.

Moreover, according to the official, “there is no scenario in which we remain completely without gas.”

Muller noted that even if Russia were to cut supplies entirely, other countries like Norway, the Netherlands and Belgium would still be selling the fossil fuels to Germany. In future, the country’s own liquefied natural gas terminal will also make a difference, the network agency’s president added.

Muller said if gas rationing occurs, the agency will weigh up the potential damage to the economy and supply chains from shutting off supplies to any particular business or industrial plant.

The official went on to claim that even if there is a shortage, it will likely affect only the parts of Germany which are at the end of the gas network.

Muller also dismissed suggestions that Berlin should ban any gas exports to neighboring European countries, stressing the importance of solidarity.

“Just like we are now benefiting from the liquefied natural gas ports in Belgium and the Netherlands,” Germany would lend its neighbors a helping hand should they face a severe gas shortage, the official pledged.

Muller predicted that Germany has two difficult winters ahead, with a risk of gas shortages, but by summer 2024 the country will be independent from Russian gas.

“What is also true, however, is that the prices will never be as low as they once were,” Muller acknowledged.

Since the start of Russia’s offensive against Ukraine, gas prices in Europe have soared, reaching an all-time-high of over $3,600 per 1,000 cubic meters in early March.

While Ukraine and some other Eastern-European nations, including Poland, have been calling on the EU to ban imports of Russian gas, Brussels has so far stopped short of implementing the measure due to a lack of consensus among member states.

German government officials and industry representatives have repeatedly warned that a stoppage of Russian gas supplies would deal a huge blow to the economy.

In late June, Economy Minister Robert Habeck activated the second phase of Germany’s three-stage emergency gas plan. It came as Russia slashed supplies via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, blaming the lack of a turbine, stuck in Canada due to sanctions.

On Monday, Russia began regular maintenance work on the pipeline, meaning no gas was flowing to Germany at all.

Also this week, Berlin asked Ottawa to exempt the piece of equipment cited by Moscow as the reason for falling supplies.

Canada has accepted Berlin’s request, and will ship the turbine to Germany, from where it will make its way to Russia, allowing Ottawa to avoid violating its own sanctions by using an indirect delivery route.

Meanwhile on Friday, Russia’s state energy giant Gazprom officially asked German industrial giant Siemens to provide the paperwork needed for the return of the equipment to Russia.

EU Lawmakers Seek More Energy Savings To Tackle Gas Crunch

Lawmakers on the European Parliament’s energy committee supported more ambitious EU targets to save energy and expand renewable power on Wednesday, viewed as key to ending Europe’s reliance on Russian gas.

Brussels is scrambling to prepare for further cuts to Russian gas supplies, and will unveil a plan next week for how countries could cope this winter if Moscow halted deliveries.

Meanwhile, the EU is negotiating more ambitious laws to push countries to replace Russian gas with clean energy this decade and reduce planet-warming CO2 emissions.

The Parliament’s energy committee backed a proposal on Wednesday to raise the EU’s target for primary and final energy savings to 14.5% by 2030 compared with expected levels, and set binding contributions for every country.

The lawmakers want a far higher goal than the 9% energy savings the Commission originally proposed last summer, although Brussels hiked that to 13% in May in a bid to quit Russian fuels faster after Moscow invaded Ukraine.

“Good for the climate and bad for Putin,” Niels Fuglsang, lead lawmaker on the proposal, said in a tweet after the vote. The proposal passed with a large majority of 50 in favor, 7 against and 13 abstentions.

The lawmakers also backed with a large majority a target to get 45% of EU energy from renewable sources by 2030, up from 22% in 2020. Brussels had initially proposed 40%, raising it to 45% after the invasion.

Hitting the energy savings goal will require renovating millions of energy-hungry buildings, which produce a third of EU greenhouse gas emissions.

Countries will also need to overcome the years-long permitting delays that currently hamper new wind and solar projects. The EU has proposed a separate law to fast-track renewables permits.

The full EU Parliament will vote on the proposals in September. If approved, they will form Parliament’s position for negotiations with EU countries on the final laws.

Countries have said they support the Commission’s original proposals, which would already mark a jump in ambition compared with current EU policies, and plan to consider the more ambitious goals in the upcoming negotiations.

NATO Experts Directing Ukrainian Servicemen, Europe Needs to Realize Consequences, Says Lavrov

NATO’s multiple rocket launcher (MRL) experts appear to be directing the actions of Ukrainian troops “on the ground,” which is fraught with certain consequences, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said.

“NATO instructors and MRL gunners are already, apparently, directing the actions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the national battalions ‘on the ground’,” Lavrov said in his article for the Izvestia newspaper, adding that he hoped that “there are responsible politicians among the Europeans who are aware of the consequences this is fraught with.”

He added that the armed forces of Russia, as well as the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR), are confidently solving tasks within the framework of Moscow’s special military operation in Ukraine.

Meanwhile, “losing on the battlefield, the Ukrainian regime and its Western patrons do not disdain to stage bloody dramatizations in order to demonize our country in international public view,” the Russian foreign minister said.

Lavrov emphasized that the demand of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to Moscow to conclude an agreement on territorial integrity and sovereignty guarantees with Kiev is in vain, since such a document already existed, it was the Minsk-2 peace deal, which was “killed” by Germany and France.

According to the Russian foreign minister, Europe is suffering from sanctions imposed against Russia the most, and is using up its arsenals, supplying weapons to Kiev without requiring an account of who controls the arms and where these weapons end up.


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