Ukrainian troops unable to respond to Russian attacks, says lawmaker

"We can’t win the war single-handed."

December 14, 2023, 5:25 PM

The Ukrainian military’s ammunition stocks are now running so low that units are unable to respond to Russian attacks, according to a prominent member of Ukraine's Parliament.

Oleksandra Ustinova said Ukraine today has half the munitions in its arsenal that it had a year ago with supplies of ammunition from the West over the last two months dropping to their lowest level since the beginning of the war.

“They (Ukrainian artillery units on the frontline) have nothing to respond with,” Ustinova, a politician who is well-briefed on military matters, told ABC News.

The Ukrainian politician’s stark warning comes amid warnings from U.S. officials that funding for military aid to Ukraine is running out, with a Ukrainian military official confirming that ammunition stocks were “very low.”

A deal between the Biden administration and leading Republicans to secure an additional $60 billion in additional funding for the war in Ukraine remains elusive because the two sides have not reached a separate agreement on new controls on the U.S. border.

Ustinova, who works with both U.S. and Ukrainian officials on accountability for U.S. military aid said the rapidly diminishing ammunition stocks were having a profound impact on the morale of Ukrainian soldiers.

She said troops are “so demoralized and disappointed” and upset at the fact that they “don’t have the means to fight.”

"I'm not exaggerating," she added. "It's hell.”

A view shows buildings heavily damaged by Russian military strikes in the town of Orikhiv, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Zaporizhzhia region, Ukraine, Dec. 13, 2023.

In recent weeks, Russian forces have been on the offensive in eastern Ukraine, particularly around the embattled city of Avdiivka, and have pushed Ukrainian troops out of small areas of land in that region.

However, Ustinova, who is also a former anti-corruption campaigner, warned that Ukrainian losses could mount if additional U.S. funding for the war is not forthcoming soon.

"We are going to lose more positions," she said, and predicted that if leading House Republicans could not reach a deal with the White House on the U.S. border in order to release more money for Ukraine, the consequences would be much more severe.

"If there is no support, Ukraine will lose," Ustinova stated, suggesting a loss by Ukraine to Russian aggression could lead to a wider conflict between Moscow and NATO.

"Politicians (in the U.S.) will have to take the responsibility of Ukraine losing and the threat of a big war in Europe," she said.

Ustinova claimed Russia had dramatically increased its armament production levels and created a war economy which was driving an “upgraded” Russian military that has learned from its mistakes in previous phases of the war.

A view shows buildings heavily damaged by Russian military strikes in the town of Orikhiv, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Zaporizhzhia region, Ukraine, Dec. 13, 2023.

"We can’t win the war single-handed," she added.

Ustinova said that Ukraine had started building multiple layers of defenses along parts of the frontlines because if U.S. military support is discontinued, Ukraine will be moving to a much more defensive strategy in the war.

A Ukrainian military official confirmed to ABC News that Ukraine's army had now stopped “all offensive operations” in light of the shortage of munitions.

Just last week, President Joe Biden’s $110.5 billion emergency spending request, which would have provided $50 billion to help Ukraine in the war and also included support for Israel was shot down in the Senate.

Members of the House of Representative are due to head home for Christmas at the end of this week and it remains unclear whether the Biden Administration can reach a deal with Republicans to guarantee additional U.S. funding for the war in Ukraine.

When asked about the situation over American aid, Ukraine's Ministry of Defense told ABC News it would be "premature" to comment on risks associated with not receiving the help.

However, Ukraine "gratefully accepts any assistance from our partners."

"We respect the decision of Congress to vote on each particular package," the department's statement read.

"The aid provided by the US protects not only Ukraine but also democratic values and international law," MOD added in its statement.

Related Topics