Iran is planning to supply Russia with hundreds of weapons-capable drones for use in Ukraine, according to a top US official.
Jake Sullivan, the White House national security adviser, said the information received by the US supported views that Russia’s heavy bombardments in Ukraine, which have led it to consolidate gains in the country’s east in recent weeks, were “coming at a cost to the sustainment of its own weapons”.
“The Iranian government is preparing to provide Russia with up to several hundred UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles], including weapons-capable UAVs, on an expedited timeline,” Sullivan said.
“From our perspective, we will continue to do our part to help sustain the effective defence of Ukraine and to help the Ukrainians show that the Russian effort to try to wipe Ukraine off the map cannot succeed,” Sullivan said.
Sullivan’s revelation comes on the eve of President Joe Biden’s trip to Israel and Saudi Arabia, where Iran’s nuclear programme and malign activities in the region will be a key subject of discussion.
The US decision to publicly reveal that the two countries’ chief regional rival was helping to rearm Russia comes as both Israel and Saudi Arabia have resisted joining global efforts to punish Russia for its invasion of Ukraine due to their domestic interests.
Russia’s grinding offensive in the east of Ukraine seems set to continue, despite fierce Ukrainian resistance emboldened by recent deliveries of western-supplied artillery, with the Ukrainian army warning that Russian troops were likely planning to launch some of their heaviest attacks yet in the Donetsk region.
As always, I'll provide two caveats:
-this assessment is based on open-source intel, some friends in the theater of war, experiences as a commander in combat & an understanding of the RU and UA way of war.
-I'll use other's maps & reporting in this assessment. 2/
There's also less "kinetic" activity on the battle lines in the last week...
-They're in their latest "operational pause" (by my count, this is their 4th).
-They're "consolidating" in newly "secured" territory (use of "s due to those claims being questionable). 3/
Also last week, Ukraine:
-is increasingly effective w/ newly acquired HIMARs
-have seen success in regaining territory (Snake Isl, resistance in Kherson & Zaporizhzhya Oblasts)
-have defended against RU small-scale attacks in Kharkiv/Donbas
Big picture from @TheStudyofWar
What's significant is while both sides are certainly fatigued, RU personnel & equipment losses are staggering.
While it's hard to tell true losses, no matter the figures one believes - & they very from UKR MOD to independent analysts - it is difficult to comprehend losses! 5/
UKR reports 37,000 RU dead; 1000+ tanks, 4000 AFV, 1000+ artillery pieces, hundreds of aircraft (planes and helos) destroyed & 2500 ballistic missiles expended in 4 months. That's upper end.
paints a more conservative picture: ridl.io/one-way-ticket/ 6/
In 138 days - less than 5 months - saw major shifts in RU strategic & operational objectives & RU has gained little ground.
“The RU invasion of UKR has caused hard & brutal fighting...UKR is making RU pay for every foot of territory they are taking.”
While they've been engaged in very tough fights in Donbas, indications are the UA has maneuvered brilliantly...employing an active defense, moving out from RU arty barrages, not allowing themselves to be surrounded, trading space for time & always finding defendable ground. 8/
That, combined with RU not properly regenerating attrited forces into capable fighting units and their seeming inability to C2 and executing effective combined arms maneuver with tanks, infantry, arty and engineers has added to UA success.
But there's more...9/
The introduction of US HIMARS, NATO MLRS, & western technologically advanced arty (w/ better intel & Q36/Q37 radars) allows UA to identify, target, strike, disrupt the RU artillery supply chain.
See this by @IAPonomarenko kyivindependent.com/national/1234 10/
So, what may happen next?
Great armies & great generals win by adapting to changing conditions on the battlefield.
General Zaluzhnyi is a great general.
He knows there are 3 main fronts.
UA is actively defending in the N & E and has active resistance in the south.
Russia, according to @defence_centre
has the following "stance:"
In Kharkiv Oblast: 29 BTGs, estimated 22-29,000 troops
In Donbas: 44 BTGs, 25-40,000 trps
In Zaporizhzhya: 22 BTGs,15-20,000 trps
In Kherson:13 BTG, 8-11,000 trps
These are my ESTIMATES, may be wrong...12/
Yesterday, Defense Minister Reznikov & President Zelenskyy stated it was time for a renewed fight "in the south" to ensure future economic stability.
Cities in Zaporizhzhya, Kherson, Mykolayivsk'a and Odes'ka Oblasts are critical to UKR economy.
Additionally, UKR received increasing partner support.
The G7 and NATO conferences in Germany & Madrid were critical, but little notice was paid to the Lugano Conference (Switzerland) on 4-5 July.
The effort was on restoring UKR post-war, with several countries signing up. 14/
The following countries committed to specific restoration in these areas:
USA & Turkey-Kharkiv
Czech R, Finland-Luhansk
Swe & NE-Kherson
Poland- Donetsk 15/
With all this, as a operational commander I would assess:
-Supplies negatively affected by UA strikes
-Little success in offensive ops
-Low morale of forces, decreasing manpower & equipment quality
-Increasing effects of economic sanctions
-Decreasing alliances 16/
-Increasing western arms & ammunition, increasingly able to counter RU artillery/maneuver
-UA forces fatigued, but morale remains high w/ability for further mobilization
-Potential for reinforcing resistance success on the 2d front in south
-Continued allied support 17/
Key to UKR success:
-Hold in E & N, increase resistance in S
-Continue attrition of RU logistics & forces, protection of same in UA
-Continue materiel & psychological support from allies
-Steady/increase sanctions on RU; no relief on Putin
-Regain exports/economy control 18/18
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