Ukraine's depleted ammo as U.S. stalled on aid delays weapons, experts say

Just as Russia prepares for a major offensive in the coming weeks, Ukraine's ammunition levels are so low that commanders are limiting the use of artillery and air defense missiles, putting their soldiers at a disadvantage.

The AP reports: [I]n the past month, The Associated Press spoke to a dozen commanders across the active zones of the eastern front line, from Kupiansk in the northeast to Bakhmut farther south. They said their soldiers have rationed shells and struggled to repel enemy attacks with insufficient artillery ammunition. They are also running critically low on air-defense missiles, not only for high-end Patriot systems that protect cities, but also for tactical air systems. That gave Russian fighter-bombers an opportunity to lob thousands of deadly aerial glide bombs against Ukrainian positions, razing defenses to the ground, something Russia's air force has not been able to do before.

On Monday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a $6.5 billion aid package to Ukraine, which included, among other things, 41,000 rounds of ammunition for howitzers, more than a dozen Mi-17 helicopters, nine Harpoon Block II missiles and 10 Joint Direct Attack Munition kits for its HIMARS systems. The Biden administration has also prepared a new package, which includes additional high-tech weapons.

But analysts and lawmakers say it could take weeks for the newest U.S. assistance to reach the front lines, and Russia is hoping to strike now, before Ukraine can replenish its defenses.

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