Situation 'dire' for Ukraine despite delayed US aid package

FILE - A Ukrainian soldier passes by a damaged apartment building in Chasiv Yar, the site of heavy battles with the Russian forces in the Donetsk region, Ukraine, Tuesday, May
FILE - A Ukrainian soldier passes by a damaged apartment building in Chasiv Yar, the site of heavy battles with the Russian forces in the Donetsk region, Ukraine, Tuesday, May Copyright Iryna Rybakova via AP, File
Copyright Iryna Rybakova via AP, File
By Shona Murray
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Ukraine has been rationing ammunition and bullets; meanwhile the Russian army has been using 'human wave' tactics by sending poorly trained recruits to the frontline in a bid to force Ukraine use up all of its ammunition.


In Ukraine, the army has been on the backfoot over the last few months; and despite the US package of $61 billion (€56.6 billion) of military support, experts say it will be sufficient merely to hold the frontline and possibly regain some lost territory.

The situation has deteriorated in large part due to a serious shortage of ammunition and weapons from Western allies; where Ukrainian forces say they have been rationing bullets.

Ukraine has been forced to abandon territory westward beginning with Avdiivka in Donetsk region in February.

Due to a distinct lack of military support, Russia has gained and maintained momentum.

In recent days Ukraine forces have been outnumbered in three villages in the East - Berdychi, Semenivka, and Novomykhailivka in Donetsk Oblast.

“The situation at the front has worsened," Ukrainian army chief Oleksandr Syrskyi said in a post on Telegram. "In general, the enemy has succeeded tactically in these directions but has failed to achieve an operational advantage".

“It really is quite dire for the Ukrainians now," said Ed Arnold, senior fellow at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI).

“The real challenge for the Ukrainians is they haven't fully set defensive lines, as we saw the Russians do that last winter," Arnold added.

He believes that Ukraine might not have an opportunity to go on the offensive until 2025 or even 2026.

'The situation is like World War II'

In some battles, Russia also deployed its ‘human wave’ tactic which involves ordering a mass number of poorly trained soldiers – often recruited from prisons - into battlefields to encourage Ukrainians to use up a lot of ammunition, before then unleashing more senior troops with advanced weapons and training.

It was a tactic deployed by the now-deposed Wagner group but has been adopted to great effect in Ukraine by the Russian army.

Oleksandr Matiash, a Ukrainian officer, has been on the frontline since the full-scale invasion began. He has seen combat in Bucha and the East, and his battalion has also fought in Avdiivka.

“We will win this war, but the losses will be critical for Ukraine. We don’t have enough people. At the start of the war, we had 38 million – too many people left. Some of them don’t want to fight, some of them can’t fight. And if we lose too many people, we just can’t defend our country, so we need help," he says.

“The situation is like World War II when there was an invasion by Germany in Poland – I see the same situation – if we wouldn’t stop Russia on the Ukrainian border, war will go into Europe – that's my prognosis”.

Last week in Kyiv, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg acknowledged to Ukrainian President Zelenskyy, "Ukraine has been outgunned for months... fewer Russian missiles and drones have been shot down, and Russia has been able to push forward on the front line”.

Watch the full report in the video player above.

Journalist • Shona Murray

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