This Week in the Russia-Ukraine War (March 3)

MIM-23 HAWK Air Defense Missiles. Image – Wikimedia Commons/nicubunu

A snapshot of recent news from sources around the world on the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war.

Sweden has joined with European allies in sending tanks to Ukraine.  Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson and Defense Minister Pål Jonson announced Sweden will give up to 10 Leopard 2 A5  tanks to Ukraine as well as HAWK air defense systems.

The U.S. announced a $400 million security assistance package Friday. Funding will provide additional HIMARS ammunition, 155mm and 105mm artillery rounds, 25mm ammunition, armored vehicle launch bridges, demolition munitions, maintenance equipment, and spare parts.

Pentagon officials conducting oversight of U.S. aid provided to Ukraine said none of the military aid provided so far has fallen into the hands  of unauthorized users. The Pentagon is working with the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development to monitor over $113 billion in total aid, nearly two-thirds of which is security assistance.

Several U.S. lawmakers sent a letter to President Biden on February 28 urging him to send F-16s or similar fourth-generation aircraft to Ukraine. Colin Kahl, the Pentagon’s undersecretary of defense for policy, said sending F-16s would take too long and cost too much at this time. He said the U.S. will continue to focus on providing air defense systems, artillery, long-range precision fires, and armored vehicles and tanks.

Poland has delivered the first four Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, representing the first delivery of Western-made tanks.

Ukraine continues to hold on to the town of Bakhmut, despite continued Russian assaults. The town has been the scene of a prolonged battle as Moscow tries to secure a foothold to retake the Donbas region.

The U.S. DoD is working with Ukraine officials to track the billions of dollars in military systems it provides for the war effort.  “Even as we focus on getting Ukraine what it needs, we’ve always prioritized accountability, and Ukraine has too. We have adapted our accountability practices for the combat environment to address the risk of illicit diversion, using mechanisms that go above and beyond our standard practices,” Colin Kahl recently told the House Armed Services Committee.

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