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Roughly €56 billion US military aid is planned to help Ukraine against Russia. How will it work?

FILE PHOTO - Ukrainian servicemen who recently returned from the trenches of Bakhmut walk on a street in Chasiv Yar, Ukraine, Wednesday, March 8, 2023.
FILE PHOTO - Ukrainian servicemen who recently returned from the trenches of Bakhmut walk on a street in Chasiv Yar, Ukraine, Wednesday, March 8, 2023. Copyright AP
Copyright AP
By Euronews with AP
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US President Joe Biden is expected to pass a bill on Wednesday giving Ukraine €56 billion in its efforts to stave off Russia's ongoing invasion. Despite the hoopla some Ukrainian lawmakers express hesitation about how the support will actually help the front line.

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Recently-passed US military aid, expected to arrive by mid-summer if approved by President Joe Biden on Wednesday, will help Ukraine avoid defeat in its war with Russia. Winning will still be a long slog.

Ukraine will receive $61 billion in military aid – enabling it to slow Russia's army's advances and block strikes on troops and civilians. It will also give Ukraine time to plan on taking back a fifth of the country now under Russian control.

The US House of Representatives approved the package on Saturday after months of consternation. Three days later the Senate passed the $95 billion (€88 billion) war aid package to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan.

Biden, who worked with congressional leaders to win support, is expected to quickly sign the legislation and start the process of sending weapons to Ukraine, which has been struggling to hold its front lines against Russia.

The difference could be felt within days on the front line in eastern and southern Ukraine, where Russia’s much larger army has been slowly taking territory against massively outgunned Ukrainian forces.

The aid approval means Ukraine may be able to release artillery ammunition from dwindling stocks that it has been rationing. More equipment will come soon from American stocks in Poland and Germany, and later from the US.

FILE - Ukrainian forces fire artillery in southeastern Ukraine.
FILE - Ukrainian forces fire artillery in southeastern Ukraine.LIBKOS/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved.

Davyd Arakhamia, a lawmaker with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s Servant of the People party, said the first shipments were expected to arrive at the beginning of next week. 

“The first part is already assembled and waiting to ship they are just waiting for the green light when the legislation will be passed completely through the Senate,” he said

“Fortunately the logistics for the shipment are pretty well established and it only takes no more than 48 hours to actually come to the frontlines".

Logistical challenges and red tape could slow shipments

But opposition lawmaker Vadym Ivchenko, member of the Ukrainian parliament’s National Security, Defence and Intelligence Committee, said logistic challenges and bureaucracy could delay shipments to Ukraine by two to three months. It could take even longer before they reach the front line, he said.

While details of the shipments are classified, Ukraine’s army most urgently needs artillery shells to stop Russian troops from advancing, and anti-aircraft missiles to protect people and infrastructure from missiles, drones and bombs.

Arakhamia said that what comes first is not always what front line commanders urgently need and US offers sometimes do not meet Ukrainian priorities.

“We obviously have no source, how to source the missiles you know like for air defence systems in particular for the Patriot systems in the US,” Arakhamia said.

“On the frontline people mostly need shells, different kind of calibres, and they also need some aviation bombs guided bombs and stuff like that to oppose because Russians are preparing for the counter-offensive and we need massive stuff to stop them."

Many experts believe that both Ukraine and Russia are exhausted by two years of war and won’t be able to mount a major offensive – one capable of making big strategic gains – until next year.

Still, Russia is pushing forward at several points along the 1,000-kilometre (600-mile) front, using tanks, wave after wave of infantry troops and satellite-guided gliding bombs to pummel Ukrainian forces.

Russia is also hitting power plants and pounding Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharkiv, which is only about 30 kilometres from the Russian border.

Opposition lawmaker Ivchenko said the goal for Ukraine’s forces now is to “hold the line” until the bulk of new supplies arrive. Then, they can focus on trying to recapture territory recently lost in the Donetsk region.

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“At the end of summer we’ll see some movement, offensive movement of the Ukrainian armed forces,” he said.

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