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US could provide $1 billion monthly aid to Ukraine – military expert Serhiy Zgurets

25 April, 2024 Thursday
13:04

According to the US law on military and financial aid to Ukraine, $12 billion is allocated for weapons that can be swiftly delivered, with an additional $14 billion for new weapons production by American companies. This means the USA can provide $1 billion worth of arms to Ukraine every month

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US President Joe Biden has signed the law on military and financial aid for Ukraine

Yesterday, the US Senate passed a bill on aid to Ukraine, which President Joe Biden has already signed. This totals more than $61 billion, covering Ukraine's defense needs, including those of American defense companies. Of this, $12 billion will be for promptly deliverable weapons and $14 billion for new weapons production domestically. In other words, the USA can provide $1 billion in arms to Ukraine monthly. Therefore, the upcoming US military aid package to Ukraine is likely to include ammunition, air defense systems, Patriot missiles, and a substantial number of armored vehicles. However, amidst discussions about American and European aid, Ukraine's potential to develop effective battlefield weapons systems should not be overlooked.

The procurement process for UAVs for Ukraine's Defense Forces 

Maksym Muzyka, a defense technology expert, shared insights from his experience as an advisor at the Defense Procurement Agency for nearly two months. He declined an offer to become the agency's deputy director, believing that the private sector offers greater efficiency in meeting the Armed Forces' needs.

Muzyka highlighted various issues in the drone procurement process. He stated that 80% of these issues could be addressed through procedures within the Defense Procurement Agency and the Ministry of Defense. He emphasized the need for real changes to the temporary procedure for determining the requirement for unmanned aircraft systems, approved in December 2023. Additionally, Muzyka identified several procedures that cause delays and complications in the contracting process. These delays result in lost time for our defenders, who are deprived of timely drone deliveries.

Regarding purchases, Muzyka noted a change in the situation compared to last year. While more funds were allocated last year than the production capacity of all domestic manufacturers could accommodate, production capacity increased significantly over the year while allocated funds remained relatively unchanged. Consequently, certain companies in Ukraine are not prioritized this year, as their products do not meet frontline needs. Currently, FPV drones and long-range UAVs remain top priorities, while individual unmanned systems are only considered when additional funds become available.

Maksym Muzyka highlighted the importance of the newly established Unmanned Systems Forces in streamlining the procurement, production, and utilization of UAVs. However, he acknowledged the need for significant improvement in this area, noting the current lack of coordination in the process.

Muzyka explained that the initial UAV supply request, formulated under Valery Zaluzhny's leadership in response to General Staff needs, faced some criticism due to its apparent inefficiency. Despite recognizing the necessity for more effective solutions, Muzyka pointed out the bureaucratic hurdles hindering the modification of supply requests. He stressed the urgency of streamlining these processes to enable the General Staff to adapt swiftly to the rapidly evolving technological demands of modern warfare.

Regarding concerns about potential procurement mistakes, Muzyka clarified that the Defense Procurement Agency receives precise lists specifying the required equipment and quantities. Therefore, he asserted that there are no issues in this regard, as the General Staff's determinations dictate the procurement process, leaving no room for the acquisition of unsuitable equipment.

Ukraine remains the most heavily mined country globally

According to Tymur Pistryuha, Executive Director of the NGO Ukrainian Deminers Association, Ukraine faces an unprecedented challenge as the most mined country worldwide. He highlighted that approximately 156 square kilometers of Ukrainian territory are potentially hazardous due to mines, yet accurate data on mined areas is currently unavailable due to the technical constraints of conducting inspections.

Pistryuha explained that, under Ukrainian law, humanitarian demining falls under the purview of certified mine action operators, which include 34 organizations in Ukraine. These operators can be of various types, including private, public, and state entities, as well as military units, provided they meet certification requirements.

Regarding manpower, Pistryuha noted that Ukraine lacks a sufficient number of sappers for demining operations. Financing for humanitarian demining primarily relies on donor funding, though there are discussions about opening the state market for demining services. Notably, the Ukrainian state budget allocates over 3 billion hryvnias to compensate for the costs of humanitarian demining, particularly for the agricultural sector.
 

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