Western allies shift focus to repairing weapons, equipment given to Ukraine: Report

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Ukraine’s Western allies have shifted their focus to repairing the weapons and military equipment provided to Kyiv which is in the midst of its counter-offensive operations against Russia, Politico reported on Thursday citing Pentagon officials.

Even prior to Ukraine launching its counter-offensive last month, concerns among allies have been growing regarding the maintenance of donated equipment and its ability to meet the demands of the battlefield. The intensifying battle against a substantial number of entrenched Russian troops has put even greater urgency on the repair and restoration of this equipment, including armored vehicles and artillery pieces. The need to swiftly address these issues has become more critical than ever before in the course of the war.

“We’re setting up repair facilities in Europe, we’re translating [training and repair] manuals, we have to do much more together so there’s going to be more of a focus on that” by partner nations, the Pentagon’s acquisition and sustainment chief, William LaPlante told Politico in an interview.

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The Ukraine Defense Contact Group convenes defense ministers and military officials from 50 nations to evaluate Ukraine's military requirements and mobilize resources in terms of weapons and supplies. Meanwhile, ensuring the operational readiness of valuable modern equipment worth billions of dollars, enabling Kyiv to sustain its counter-offensive efforts, is a key responsibility of a collaborative working group consisting of 22 nations. Led by the US, Poland, and the UK, with LaPlante spearheading the initiative.

“We have regular conversations” with Ukrainian counterparts, LaPlante said. “What more do they need? Are there more parts we can send? We’re actually tracking what’s called the availability rate of each one of these systems,” in near real-time.

Kyiv has been grappling with significant concerns regarding equipment readiness throughout the duration of the conflict, as Russia has had the advantage of tapping into its extensive stockpiles to bolster its forces consistently. In contrast, Ukraine is primarily operating with either decades-old Russian inventory or relatively new equipment that is still unfamiliar to them. The extensive repair work required often necessitates shipping the machinery to destinations such as Poland or Czechia before it can be transported back to Ukraine, posing additional logistical challenges due to the lengthy transit times involved.

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