Ukraine's top general urges more arms for offensive
July 1, 2023 10:15 AM
Ukraine's counteroffensive plans are hobbled by the lack of adequate firepower, from modern fighter jets to artillery ammunition, the country's military commander-in-chief Valery Zaluzhny said in an interview published Friday.
Zaluzhny told The Washington Post he is frustrated by the slow deliveries of promised weaponry from the West.
It "pisses me off" that some in the West complain about the slow start and progress to the long-awaited push against Russian occupying forces in the country's south, he said.
Zaluzhny said his Western supporters would not themselves launch an offensive without air superiority, but Ukraine is still awaiting F-16 fighters promised by its allies.
"I do not need 120 planes. I'm not going to threaten the whole world. A very limited number would be enough," he told the newspaper.
"But they are needed. Because there is no other way. Because the enemy is using a different generation of aviation," he said.
He also complained he has a fraction of the artillery shells that Russia is firing, The Washington Post reported.
Zaluzhny said he is in constant contact with Western partners, like Pentagon Joint Chiefs Chairman General Mark Milley, who are keenly aware of his needs.
But Milley alone can't make the decision, and the delays are deadly, Zaluzhny said.
"It's just that while that decision is being made, in the obvious situation, a lot of people die every day -- a lot. Just because no decision has been made yet."
"This is not a show," Zaluzhny said.
"It's not a show the whole world is watching and betting on or anything. Every day, every meter is given by blood," he said.
Speaking later Friday in Washington, Milley said the United States and allies were working hard to supply Ukraine.
"We are giving them as much help as humanly possible," he said.
Milley said the United States was still in talks on providing Ukraine with F-16s and ATACMS, precision missiles that could more than double the range Ukraine forces are able to target.
He acknowledged that some people had expressed impatience with the pace of the counteroffensive.
The counteroffensive "is advancing steadily, deliberately working its way through very difficult minefields," Milley said.
"Sure, it goes a little slow but that is part of the nature of war," he said.
"War on paper and real war are different," he added.