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Air Force General Says Ukraine Needs Ammunition

In the last two years of fighting in Ukraine, Russians have not hesitated to initiate frontal assaults with no concern about sacrificing their own people, said Air Force Lt. Gen. Leonard J. Kosinski, Joint Staff logistics director.

A man in uniform sitting down speaks.
Leonard J. Kosinski
Air Force Lt. Gen. Leonard J. Kosinski, Joint Staff logistics director, speaks at the Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C., Feb. 28, 2024.
Photo By: Screen capture
VIRIN: 240228-O-D0439-001

Despite Ukraine's ability to skillfully incorporate high-end technology into the fight, it's imperative that they receive more munitions, he said today on a panel at the Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C. 

"Sometimes you just need bullets to be able to fight against bullets and onslaughts of folks," he said. 

Over the last few decades, the U.S. has not adequately prepared itself for near-peer competition with mass production of munitions and other warfighting materiel, he said, adding the U.S. is now making better decisions to increase that capability. 

The U.S. is also relying on the defense industrial bases of partners nations for sustainment to Ukraine, he said.

Cargo sits in the rear of an aircraft.
Loaded Cargo
Cargo sits on an aircraft after being loaded by airmen assigned to the 436th Aerial Port Squadron in support of a security assistance mission between the U.S. and Ukraine at Dover Air Force Base, Del., May 24, 2021. The U.S. and Ukraine first initiated a partnership in 1993. Missions such as this demonstrate U.S. commitment to Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Photo By: Air Force Airman 1st Class Cydney Lee
VIRIN: 210524-F-IF976-1127R

The Defense Department is preparing itself for the near-peer fight by investing in readiness and modernization in some creative ways — such as the replicator initiative, which will get weapons produced at speed and scale, he said. 

Jan Jires, an official with the Czech Republic defense ministry, said that Europe's contribution to Ukraine's war effort has been far better than anyone expected. 

For instance, a single German company is now producing more 155 mm artillery shells than the entire U.S. defense industry combined, he said. 

"The combined value of European support to Ukraine, [in terms of] financial, humanitarian and military [assistance], has been larger than what came from the United States. And that's a good thing," Jires said.

A soldier sits in a tank among rows of tanks in a sandy area.
Bradley Lineup
A stevedore sits in a Bradley fighting vehicle before loading it onto the ARC Wallenius Wilhemsen vehicle carrier at the Transportation Core Dock in North Charleston, S.C., Jan. 25, 2023. The shipment of Bradleys was part of the U.S. military aid package to Ukraine.
Photo By: Oz Suguitan, U.S. Transportation Command
VIRIN: 230125-F-SK383-1112A

That said, Europe should be doing even more, he added. "It's in our vital interests."  

Rebeccah Heinrichs, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, said, "Ukraine needs weapons immediately." 

Getting supplemental [security assistance] passed benefits not just Ukraine, Taiwan and Israel, it also benefits the U.S. industrial base, she noted. 

The American people need to be reminded why European security is directly related to U.S. security, she said. 

"Russia remains not just an acute threat to the American people and to the United States of America, [but] it's a chronic threat," she said.

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