Espreso. Global

Ramstein meeting: strengthening Ukrainian air defense, supplying artillery - military expert Zgurets

23 November, 2023 Thursday

The main topic of the meeting of the Contact Group on Ukraine's Defense in the Ramstein format is strengthening Ukraine's air defense and supplying Ukraine with artillery and munitions

Meeting in Ramstein format

The 17th meeting of the Contact Group on Ukraine's Defense in the Ramstein format took place on November 22. The main topic of discussion is strengthening air defense and supplying Ukraine with artillery and ammunition. At the opening of the event, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin called for strengthening air defense.

Before the Ramstein, Austin and Pistorius visited Kyiv to announce new military aid packages. These packages provided the basis for creating a solid background for the negotiations that are now taking place online among the participants in the Ramstein meeting.  

Significantly, the Pentagon today denied yesterday's report by ABC News that the United States had cut its ammunition supplies to Ukraine by more than a third because it was needed to supply Israel. The Pentagon said there is enough ammunition for both Ukraine and Israel.

The importance of F-16 fighters today

Russia is trying to produce Su-34 bombers. The average rate of production is about 5-8 bombers per year. But when the Russian Federation produces 8 bombers, during this period of hostilities, the Ukrainian Armed Forces destroy 22 such fighters. In addition, they are concerned about our anti-aircraft missile systems and, accordingly, enter our airspace. With the arrival of F-16s at the front, it will be much easier to fight the enemy air threat. That is why we need to speed up the delivery of the aircraft, as it is an important element of our security.

Help from Germany

As for the German aid, the situation is much more significant, with a package of 1.3 billion euros. For example, 25,000 or 20,000 rounds of 155 mm ammunition will be delivered by the end of the year. By the end of the year, Ukraine's air defense system will be supported by 5 IRIS-T systems, which are air defense systems from previous aid packages. Germany also promises to supply 140,000 shells next year, which is a significant progress for Germany in increasing the production of artillery ammunition, where the German concern Rheinmetall plays a key role.

In general, over the next year, EU cranes, and in fact 15 companies that produce ammunition in the EU, hope to reach a production volume of about 1.4 million rounds per year. In fact, the EU and the United States are now roughly tripling their ammunition production. This will be important for the situation on the battlefield.

Situation on the battlefield

The Ukrainian Armed Forces are launching counterattacks in areas where the enemy does not expect them. On November 20, there was information that the Ukrainian Armed Forces conducted counteroffensives near Horlivka. There was information that our military had advanced in this area.

In Avdiivka, the situation with equipment has not changed, the Ukrainian Armed Forces have some work to do, said a Ukrainian Armed Forces serviceman Yevhen Iievliev.

"The sound of artillery does not stop day and night. In a month, there were maybe 3-4 nights when the density of artillery, mortars, vehicles and tanks was a little less. Now there are some unfortunate things and it complicates the conditions not only for us but also for the enemy. Today, the dynamics and modernity of the war have reached the point where command observation posts, both enemy and ours, see the battle from the reconnaissance UAVs that are flying up. So when there is fog, rain or very strong winds outside, it makes it difficult for both sides to fight. Today and yesterday it was freezing, so we were able to fly and reconnoiter," the serviceman told me.

Punisher drones

One of the crews recently received a Punisher system. This is the crew of the 58th Brigade together with the crew of the 129th Brigade, who conducted reconnaissance. They managed to detect and destroy a vehicle of the Borysoglebsk-2 complex, an electronic warfare complex worth about $200 million," said Maksym Muzyka, head of UA Dynamics (manufacturer of Punisher drones).

"Since the beginning of the summer, we have started training at one training center, trained an instructor group, and assembled the material base. Now we have launched training at the second training center. This is quite enough for us, because these training centers, in addition to fully training Punisher crews, are able to provide an official military accounting specialty," Muzyka said.

The new aircraft will be presented next year, it will be about three times more powerful than the Punisher and will perform more functions. This is a full-cycle aircraft, it can find the target, destroy it, and confirm it online.

The power of FPV drones at the front

In a conversation with me on Espreso TV channel, Ukrainian Armed Forces serviceman Yevhen Iievliev noted the effectiveness of FPV drones at the front.

"Indeed, FPV drones can replace artillery at the front. The enemy can hear the exit of other weapons, and when an FPV drone takes off, the enemy can hear it 3 seconds before arrival. An FPV drone can fly right into the door of a dugout. It is much harder to make such an accurate shot at a distance of 5 km with a mortar. It is much safer to work in an equipped dugout, changing positions, than to sit in an open area of the field. The Solntsepyok that our pilots hit was destroyed when it was moving at about 70 km/h," commented Yevhen Iievliev, a serviceman of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, in a conversation with me on the Espreso TV.

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