The United States believes Russia will target routes used for weapons shipments, according to a defense official, in an attempt to slow the supply of US and partner weapons flowing into Ukraine.
Russian forces have not frequently struck moving targets such as convoys or rail deliveries, but they could try to destroy the bridges, roads and rails used to transport the weapons and supplies into the country, the official said.
Even if the Russians were successful in striking those routes, the official said, they would be unable to stop the shipments in their entirety. There are simply too many shipments going in.
Weapons into Ukraine: The US and partner nations have shipped nearly 70,000 anti-tank and anti-armor weapons into Ukraine, including Javelins, NLAWs, RPGs and more, the official said. The shipments have also included nearly 30,000 anti-aircraft missiles, such as Stingers, and some 7,000 launchers for these weapons.
Earlier this month, Joints Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley told the Senate Armed Services Committee that some 60,000 anti-tank weapons and 25,000 anti-aircraft weapons had been sent into the country. Since then, the US has authorized hundreds of millions more dollars in military assistance.
Slowing down Russian invasion: The US and NATO have assessed that Ukrainian forces have used these systems very effectively to slow down and in some places stymie the Russian invasion. Part of that success has come from Ukraine’s adaptation of a decentralized command and control which allows junior commanders to make important battlefield decisions without higher authorization, the official said
Russia retains some advantage: The official also noted that Ukraine has had years to prepare for Russia’s offensive in southeast Ukraine, since the Donbas region has seen regular fighting between Ukrainian forces and Russian-backed proxies.
Ukraine has prepared trenches, anti-armor ambushes and more ahead of this imminent fight, the official said, but warned that Russia still retains the advantage in military technology and overall military power. Instead of spreading that power out over much of Ukraine, it is now concentrated in the south and east for what may be a massive assault.