ukraine calls for allies to speed up weapons deliveries
President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine in Lviv this month. He has urged allies to deliver weapons faster to his military.Yuriy Dyachyshyn/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

KYIV, Ukraine — President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine has implored allies to speed up delivery of weapons as Russia intensifies its assaults on towns and cities across eastern Ukraine, sending waves of troops in an effort to break through heavily defended Ukrainian lines.

“Russia hopes to drag out the war, to exhaust our forces,” Mr. Zelensky said on Sunday in his nightly address. “So we have to make time our weapon. We must speed up the events, speed up the supply and opening of new necessary weaponry options for Ukraine.”

Kyiv’s demands for its international allies to send more advanced weaponry have taken on greater urgency amid fears that Moscow plans to launch a major offensive in the coming weeks, a year after Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Military experts and allies say Ukraine will also mount an offensive aimed at driving Russia out of occupied areas in the east.

Britain’s defense ministry said on Monday that Moscow is “likely keeping open the option” of announcing another “partial mobilization” of men with military experience for its war effort in Ukraine. In September, President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia announced the first such call up of roughly 300,000 reservists, a move that prompted widespread protests.

Russia is currently “inundating” Ukraine’s positions in the east, according to Ukrainian officials. “They are simply throwing our positions with bodies and numbers and gradually moving forward,” Serhiy Haidai, the head of the Luhansk regional military administration, said on national television Sunday night.

As the war has evolved, so too has the kind of military assistance that Ukraine’s allies are willing to provide to Ukraine. First, it was small arms, such as the Javelin and NLAW anti-tank weapons that helped stall Russian forces and then drive them back from Kyiv and other northern cities. Then the focus shifted to artillery to help Ukraine match the Russian supply that allowed it to grind out gains in the east, up until July.

The arrival of precision missile systems, like the American-made HIMARS, helped Ukraine set the stage for its two most successful operations, recapturing Kharkiv in the northeast, and then the southern city of Kherson.

Last week, after months of debate, the United States and several European countries announced that they would send battle tanks, armored vehicles and other weapons to help Ukraine go on the offensive again.

A Leopard 2 tank firing during a training exercise in Ostenholz, Germany, in October. Ronny Hartmann/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

However, Chancellor Olaf Scholz of Germany reiterated over the weekend that Berlin would not send fighter jets to Ukraine. The comments came hours after Mykhailo Podolyak, a top adviser to Mr. Zelensky, said “fast-track” talks had begun among allies to provide the military aircraft and long-range missiles Kyiv says it urgently needs.

Long-range missiles are critical “to drastically curtail the key tool of the Russian army” by destroying weapons warehouses, Mr. Podolyak said. Col. Yuriy Ihnat, the spokesman for the Ukrainian Air Force, said last week that F-16 fighter jets would serve a dual role in Ukraine, as part of air defenses and as “a force for strikes against the enemy.”

“That we are not talking about fighter aircraft is something I made clear very early on, and I’m making that clear here as well,” Mr. Scholz said in his announcement about the tanks last week. He reiterated the sentiments in an interview with the German newspaper Der Tagesspiegel published on Sunday.

Even if the United States doesn’t send its own, European nations with American-made jets could decide to send Ukraine theirs, though Washington would have to approve those transactions.

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