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U.S. officials advise Ukraine to wait on offensive, official says

By Steve Holland Reuters 20 Jan 23

Senior U.S. officials are advising Ukraine to hold off on launching a major offensive against Russian forces until the latest supply of U.S. weaponry is in place and training has been provided, a senior Biden administration official said on Friday.

The official, speaking to a small group of reporters on condition of anonymity, said the United States was holding fast to its decision not to provide Abrams tanks to Ukraine at this time, amid a controversy with Germany over tanks.

President Joe Biden, who approved a new $2.5 billion weapons package for Ukraine this week, told reporters at the White House, “Ukraine is going to get all the help they need,” when asked if he supports Poland’s intention to send German-made Leopard tanks to Ukraine.

Comment: US advises Ukraine not to squander scarce resources.

The US believes that Ukraine should “refocus” on preparations for a new offensive, suggesting fierce battles for the eastern city of Artyomovsk (called Bakhmut by Ukraine) may be “hampering” Kiev. The comments cut against months of Western media reports that described the town as a key, strategic area.

The aid includes a large number of artillery rounds, munitions for the US-supplied HIMARS multi-launch rocket platform, and, for the first time, Stryker combat vehicles – but no tanks. A small number of Ukrainian troops are also undergoing training at a US base in Germany, with some learning how to operate the Patriot missile defense battery authorized for Kiev in December.

The official allegedly said that Western weapons that will be needed for a “mobile offensive force” for future battles are currently “pouring into Ukraine,” adding that Kiev should not waste its limited resources on the “strategically unimportant target,” according to Reuters.

January 24, 2023 - Posted by | Ukraine, weapons and war

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