Foreign weapons “already at the front”, says Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister

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President Joe Biden speaks on security assistance to Ukraine during a visit to the Lockheed Martin Pike County Operations facility where they manufacture Javelin anti-tank missiles May 3 in Troy, Pennsylvania Alabama. (Evan Vucci/AP)

Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar said weapons supplied to kyiv by the United States and other partners are already deployed on the front lines.

“In addition to Javelins and Stingers, American 155mm howitzers are already in use at the front,” Maliar said during a briefing on Wednesday.

“We are working to accelerate the pace of aid, because it is the life of our soldiers.”

A senior US defense official told reporters on Tuesday that 89 of the 90 howitzers the United States had agreed to donate to Ukraine had been transferred to Ukrainian possession.

Maliar said the supply of foreign weapons had become routine, despite Russian efforts to destroy transport infrastructure.

“We have already received a large number of weapons. But now we have entered the period of rhythmic supply of weapons to Ukraine,” she added.

She also suggested that new arrangements would help Ukraine sustain a longer conflict.

“A lend-lease package is currently under study. We are getting support from the European Union and other countries,” she said.

“That is to say, we are entering a new phase of the war. Russia is heading towards a state where it cannot win the ‘equipment war.’
“However, until this victory, we will have many difficult weeks, even months,” she said.

Maliar also said Ukrainian production lines are being ramped up.

“We are making a strategic bet on the development of our own production. Manufacturers are already in charge of military orders until the end of the year. In addition, the Ministry of Defense is buying protective equipment abroad” , she said.

In the first ten days of May, the Ukrainian Armed Forces had received more than 34,000 bulletproof vests, she said.

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