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Ryan Robertson

Anchor, Investigative Reporter

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Military

Aid package to Ukraine ‘not aimed at achieving victory’

Apr 25

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Ryan Robertson

Anchor, Investigative Reporter

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The United States has passed a Ukraine aid bill and is sending more than a billion dollars worth of weaponry to Ukraine. So, that means Ukraine can finally win the war with Russia, right? Well, no. Not at all really.

“This aid is not aimed at achieving victory, but rather at avoiding a clear loss,” said Irina Tsukerman, a human rights and national security lawyer, as well as a geopolitical analyst.

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Tsukerman said while Congress debated whether to send more aid for months, Ukrainian soldiers were forced to ration everything, even bullets.

Once President Joe Biden signed the over $61 billion aid bill into law, he immediately used his drawdown authority to put together an initial aid package totaling more than $1 billion. However, not all of that money is going to Ukraine; around three-quarters of the funds from the package will be spent in the U.S. to restock its own supplies.

What is included for Ukraine in this first tranche is ammunition for pretty much every kind of U.S. weapon in Ukraine — small arms rounds for rifles, several types of missiles for air defense systems, artillery — including high explosive and cluster rounds, more Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles and the long-range variant of the ATACMS missile, which is designed to be used against more hardened targets like buildings and bunkers.

Many in Congress thought this would be the first time the long-range ATACMS would be sent to Ukraine. But, after Biden signed the aid deal into law, National Security advisor Jake Sullivan revealed the U.S. had already secretly sent some long-range ATACMS to Ukraine in February and March, and that they were used against a Russian airfield in Crimea.

The attack proves Ukraine can use the ground-launched weapons to strike hardened Russian targets up to 200 miles away. So, more Russian logistics hubs, command centers and other sensitive sites are now at much greater risk.

Tsukerman emphasized that while Ukraine will find ways to ration its new supply of ATACMS effectively, the weapons won’t be enough to secure a Ukrainian victory.

“All [the ATACMS are] doing is offsetting a very serious disadvantage that [the Ukrainians] have had since the end of their own counter-offensive until the present day,” Tsukerman said.

Tsukerman suggested that significantly more ammunition and more Patriot batteries should be sent over. Germany indicated it may send another Patriot air defense system to Ukraine. Tsukerman also said Israel may have some air defense systems to spare.

Israel’s relationship with Russia is complicated, and there were some concerns that Israel’s air defense systems may not be able to stop Russian weapons since they were designed to counter Iranian threats. However, since Russia is relying more and more on Iranian weapons to attack Ukraine, Israeli air defenses would likely work just fine.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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[RYAN ROBERTSON]

AT LONG LAST, THE UNITED STATES PASSED A UKRAINE AID BILL AND IS SENDING MORE THAN A BILLION DOLLARS WORTH OF WEAPONRY TO UKRAINE. SO, THAT MEANS UKRAINE CAN FINALLY WIN THE WAR WITH RUSSIA, RIGHT? WELL, NO. NOT AT ALL REALLY.

Irina Tsukerman: So right now, this aid is not an aid to go towards victory. Just to be clear, it’s an aid towards avoiding a very clear loss.

[RYAN ROBERTSON]

THAT’S IRINA TSUKERMAN. A NATIONAL SECURITY LAWYER AND GEOPOLITICAL ANALYST. SHE SAYS FOR MONTHS, WHILE CONGRESS DEBATED WHETHER TO SEND MORE AID, UKRAINIAN SOLDIERS WERE FORCED TO RATION EVERYTHING. EVEN BULLETS.

Tsukerman: So that’s huge. That means they’ve had to literally not shoot at fairly easy targets. And essentially, most of their expenditure of ammunition right now is entirely defensive.

[RYAN ROBERTSON]

ONCE PRESIDENT BIDEN SIGNED THE MORE THAN $61 BILLION AID BILL INTO LAW, HE IMMEDIATELY USED HIS DRAWDOWN AUTHORITY TO PUT TOGETHER AN INITIAL AID PACKAGE TOTALING MORE THAN $1 BILLION.

BUT NOT ALL OF THAT MONEY IS GOING TO UKRAINE. AROUND THREE QUARTERS OF THE FUNDS FROM IT WILL BE SPENT IN THE U.S. TO RESTOCK OUR OWN SUPPLIES.
WHAT IS INCLUDED FOR UKRAINE IN THIS FIRST TRANCHE IS AMMUNITION FOR PRETTY MUCH EVERY KIND OF U.S. WEAPON IN UKRAINE: SMALL ARMS ROUNDS FOR RIFLES, SEVERAL TYPES OF MISSILES FOR AIR DEFENSE SYSTEMS, ARTILLERY INCLUDING HIGH EXPLOSIVE AND CLUSTER ROUNDS, MORE BRADLEY INFANTRY FIGHTING VEHICLES, AND THE LONG-RANGE VARIANT OF THE ATACMS MISSILE WHICH IS DESIGNED TO BE USED AGAINST MORE HARDENED TARGETS LIKE BUILDINGS AND BUNKERS.

MANY IN CONGRESS THOUGHT THIS WOULD BE THE FIRST TIMES THE LONG-RANGE ATACMS WOULD BE SENT TO UKRAINE. BUT, AFTER PRESIDENT BIDEN SIGNED THE AID DEAL INTO LAW, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR JAKE SULLIVAN REVEALED THE U.S. HAD ALREADY SECRETLY SENT SOME LONG-RANGE ATACMS TO UKRAINE IN FEBRUARY AND MARCH, AND THAT THEY WERE USED AGAINST A RUSSIAN AIRFIELD IN CRIMEA.

THE ATTACK PROVES UKRAINE CAN USE THE GROUND-LAUNCHED WEAPONS TO STRIKE HARDENED RUSSIAN TARGETS UP TO 200 MILES AWAY. SO, MORE RUSSIAN LOGISTICS HUBS, COMMAND CENTERS AND OTHER SENSITIVE SITES ARE NOW AT MUCH GREATER RISK.

Tsukerman: The more they can break down any sort of connection between any sort of occupied territories that Russia has and the ability to reach Ukrainian territories that are currently in dispute, the better it is. Because then Russia has to take time to rebuild all of that, and you know by the time they rebuild, they can be taken down again.

[RYAN ROBERTSON]

TSUKERMAN SAYS SHE HAS NO DOUBTS UKRAINE WILL FIND WAYS TO RATION ITS NEW SUPPLY OF ATACMS EFFECTIVELY, BUT THE WEAPONS WON’T BE ENOUGH TO SECURE A UKRAINIAN VICTORY.

Tsukerman: This is just barely what should have been done six months ago, this is the aid from six months ago that was supposed to come in then. The aid for what should have come in now has not even been debated yet.

Robertson: What do you feel like that aid needs to be? What should we be debating next to be sent over?

Tsukerman: I think significantly more ammunition than even what is being said. I think more Patriot batteries, for sure.

[RYAN ROBERTSON]

GERMANY INDICATED IT MAY SEND ANOTHER PATRIOT AIR DEFENSE SYSTEM TO UKRAINE. TSUKERMAN SAYS ISRAEL MAY ALSO HAVE SOME SYSTEMS TO SPARE. ISRAEL’S RELATIONSHIP WITH RUSSIA IS COMPLICATED, AND THERE WERE SOME CONCERNS ISRAEL’S AIR DEFENSE SYSTEMS MAY NOT BE ABLE TO STOP RUSSIAN WEAPONS SINCE THEY WERE DESIGNED TO COUNTER IRANIAN THREATS, BUT SINCE RUSSIA IS RELYING MORE AND MORE ON IRANIAN WEAPONS TO ATTACK UKRAINE, ISRAELI AIR DEFENSES WOULD LIKELY WORK JUST FINE.