This Week in the Russia-Ukraine War (October 20)

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

Dutch Patriot air defense missile launchers. Image – Netherlands MoD

Political Developments

Washington can ‘certainly’ afford to back both Ukraine and Israel, should the latter launch a ground invasion of Gaza, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told Sky News in an interview. “We do need to come up with funds, both for Israel and for Ukraine. This is a priority. It’s really up to the House to find, seat a speaker and to put us in a position where legislation can be passed,” she said.

Three Israeli officials told Axios that the U.S. will deliver to Israel tens of thousands of 155mm artillery shells originally slated for transfer to Ukraine. According to the report, the IDF requested additional ammunition to help it prepare for the potential operation in Gaza.

North Korea is secretly shipping ammunition to Russia, according to a RUSI report. Moscow has courted Pyongyang’s support throughout the war, and last month North Korean leader Kim Jong-un traveled to eastern Russia to tour key sites, including defense companies. Officials in Washington have been staunchly critical of the alleged deliveries, but Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called the reports “rumors.”

Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov told the State Duma that “almost all” of the country’s UAVs are being sourced from China at present. He added that Russia is investing tens of billions of rubles to support domestic manufacturers.

Military Assistance to Ukraine

U.S. President Joe Biden is seeking $105 billion for Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan, and domestic security goals, announcing the funding request on Friday. CNBC reported that the White House is looking for $61 billion in assistance for Ukraine; $14.3 billion for Israel; and $2 billion for Taiwan.

The Netherlands announced that it will supply extra Patriot air defense missiles to Ukraine.  This delivery will add to Dutch Patriot systems that were supplied to Ukraine earlier.

Ukrainian pilots are expected to begin training to fly F-16 fighter jets at Morris Air National Guard Base in Tucson, Arizona, next week. The pilots recently underwent English proficiency training in Texas. Training will begin on simulators before moving to actual aircraft, and the standard training protocols may be accelerated.

All 31 M1A1 Abrams tanks donated to Kyiv are now in Ukraine, according to U.S. military officials. Ukraine needs to ensure it has the appropriate resources to support the tanks, so it may be some time before they’re deployed to the front lines.

The U.S. Congressional Research Service issued a report on the legal authority for the U.S. sending seized Iranian ammunition to Ukraine.

France will be able to deliver 3,000 155mm shells to Ukraine per month by the start of the new year, French Minister of Armed Forces Sébastien Lecornu posted on X, formerly Twitter. At the start of 2023, France was able to transfer roughly 1,000 155mm shells per month to Ukraine.

Lithuania will start repairing German-made Leopard main battle tanks that have seen combat duty in Ukraine, Lithuania’s Defense Ministry said this week. “Tanks will be returned to the battlefield once their technical capability is restored,” the MoD added.

Ukraine received a Bo 105-E4 helicopter, the MoD said this week.

Ukraine is showing interest in the Israeli-developed Iron Beam, an air defense system that uses a high energy laser (HEL) weapon.  The Iron Beam was scheduled to enter service in 2025.  Ukraine has already ask Israel for air defense systems.

Ukraine’s “Army of Drones” initiative is providing hundreds of drones to its armed forces.  So far, this effort had delivered over more than 800 drones to the Ukrainian military.

All of Croatia’s Mi-8 helicopters have been delivered to Ukraine, according to comments from the U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who thanked the country for its support of Kyiv.

Battlefield Updates

Ukrainian General Oleksandr Syrskyi said on Monday that the Russian military is looking to achieve a breakthrough along the frontlines in the northeast. Battles in the vicinity of Kupiansk and Lyman have “significantly escalated” recently, he said. The towns are close to the city of Kharkiv.

Ukraine has begun using the Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) to conduct strikes on Russian military positions, targeting a pair of Russian airbases in eastern Ukraine. While the U.S. has fired over 600 ATACMS in military operations, Ukraine’s usage this week marks the first time the system has been fired by a foreign military. Ukraine reportedly destroyed nine helicopters, as well as an anti-aircraft launcher, in the strike.

According to Politico, the U.S. decided in July to deliver ATACMS variants with ranges of about 100 miles. The transfer was kept under wraps until it was complete to reduce the likelihood that Russia would destroy the missiles in transit.

Russia reportedly lost at least three dozen armored vehicles during an assault on Avdiivka. Several Ukrainian positions were seized, but Russia’s advance on the city was slowed by Ukrainian forces.

Ukraine’s Main Directorate of Intelligence recently put six Leleka-100 drones into service. The Ukrainian-made UAVs cost about UAH9 million.

At a security exhibition in Moscow this week, a Russian company showed off a pair of unmanned ground vehicles that have reportedly seen combat duty in Ukraine. The Gran Scientific and Production Association told state media that around 60 of the UGVs delivered to the Russian Armed Forces are being used on the battlefield.

The Russian military has launched another wave of missiles and drones against targets in Ukraine overnight.  Ukrainian officials said most of these threats were intercepted by its air defenses.


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