NATO bids to ramp up anti-aircraft missile deliveries to Ukraine after top US spooks warned Putin’s troops could be preparing large-scale aerial assault
- Ukrainian military had inflicted such Russian losses that Putin attack by air
- Fresh offensive is likely to focus on Kharkiv, Zaporizhzhia and eastern Donbas
- Read more: Putin ‘preparing new aerial attack on Ukraine’ with fighter jets
NATO wants to ramp up deliveries of anti-aircraft missiles to Ukraine after American officials warned Russia could launch a large-scale aerial assault as part of a spring offensive.
Senior US sources said the Ukrainian military had inflicted such losses on Moscow’s ‘demoralised’ land forces that they may opt for attacks from the air.
A fresh offensive is likely to focus on Kharkiv in the north-east of Ukraine, Zaporizhzhia in the southeast, and the eastern Donbas.
One US official said there was ‘a lot of action on the border, a lot of preparations’ of Russian bombers, fighter jets and helicopter gunships. ‘If the Ukrainians are to survive, they must have as many air defence capabilities and as much ammunition as possible,’ they added.
France and Italy have recently pledged to send Mamba air defence systems, while the US, Germany and the Netherlands vowed to provide more Patriot units to protect Ukrainian towns and cities.
Before the two-day meeting, Nato chief Jens Stoltenberg had warned of a ‘race of logistics’ to provide Kyiv’s armed forces with the equipment they need to fend off attacks.
NATO wants to ramp up deliveries of anti-aircraft missiles to Ukraine after American officials warned Russia could launch a large-scale aerial assault as part of a spring offensive. Pictured: Ukranian soldiers in an exercise for NLAW anti-aircraft missiles
Senior US sources said the Ukrainian military had inflicted such losses on Moscow’s ‘demoralised’ land forces that they may opt for attacks from the air Pictured: UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace
One US official said there was ‘a lot of action on the border, a lot of preparations’ of Russian bombers, fighter jets and helicopter gunships. Pictured: Russian fighting aircraft Su-35 hit by the Ukrainian Armed Forces
READ MORE HERE: Putin is ‘preparing new aerial attack on Ukraine’ with fighter jets and helicopters prepped for battle – as NATO chief warns Europe is at risk of running out of ammunition to help Kyiv fight back
But talks at the alliance’s headquarters in Brussels failed to meet Ukrainian demands on delivering much-needed Western fighter jets. The US and the UK have ruled out such planes for now, but Britain has announced a training programme for Ukrainian fighter pilots.
Nato strategists also worry that Ukraine is burning through ammunition faster than its Western allies can manufacture and resupply it.
Ukraine is firing 6,000 shells a day, while Russia is using up some 20,000 rounds, equivalent to what European factories produce in a month.
Earlier yesterday Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said its military must be trained to fight without always resorting to heavy gunfire.
He said: ‘[The Ukrainian military] uses huge amounts of ammunition to defend itself – partly that’s why we’re training them to fight in a Western way.
‘The Russian or the Soviet way of fighting is very ammunition-heavy, massive artillery barrages, and that’s never how we have organised ourselves to fight in the West.’
Mr Wallace again ruled out sending jets to Kyiv for now but insisted Britain could provide more immediate support through weapons such as anti-aircraft missiles.
‘I think we can help Ukraine sooner by delivering the effects they need on the battlefield rather than the platform-specific request,’ Mr Wallace told Sky News.
His US counterpart Lloyd Austin said that the Ukrainians would be able to make serious gains if provided with the correct equipment.
‘I think they’ll have a real good chance of establishing the initiative. And being able to exploit that initiative going forward,’ he said.
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