Russia is gaining advantage in eastern Ukraine as forces learn from earlier mistakes, US officials say
The US assessments paint a dismal image of the future of the war, with high personnel and equipment losses on both sides. US officials believe that Russian forces plan to maintain intense attacks in the east, characterized by heavy artillery and missile strikes, with the intention of wearing down Ukrainian forces and NATO resolve over time.
Members of the Ukrainian parliament have told US lawmakers that the Russian military has calculated how much ammunition Western allies have in stockpiles for the Ukrainian military’s mostly Russian-made artillery — and plan to wait for Ukrainian forces to run out over time.
“Putin is not deterred and I don’t think he will ever be deterred,” Rep. Mike Quigley, a Democrat from Illinois who sits on the House Intelligence Committee, told CNN.
“This war could last years,” he added.
At home, US and NATO partners are beginning to see the limits of their own supplies of certain advanced weapons, including shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles and Javelin anti-tank missiles. These weapons systems have their own complicated supply lines, meaning it could take years to replace the thousands of such missiles already supplied to Ukrainian forces.
Meanwhile, the US Defense Department’s watchdog has opened an evaluation of the department’s plans to restock its own munitions and equipment stockpiles as it continues to supply significant quantities to Ukraine, the agency announced Wednesday.
“The objective of this evaluation is to determine the extent to which the DOD has planned to restock its equipment and munitions provided to Ukraine,” the department’s inspector general said in a statement.
CNN’s Devan Cole, Katie Bo Lillis, Barbara Starr, Natasha Bertrand, Oren Liebermann, Tim Lister, Donald Judd and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.