This Week in the Russia-Ukraine War (October 27)

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

an anti-aircraft tank sits near the water firing into the air

Germany is donating another three Gepard anti-aircraft gun tanks to Ukraine – Wikimedia Commons/Bundeswehr/Rott

Political Developments

Russia’s parliament unanimously passed legislation withdrawing ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), but Russia says it doesn’t plan to test nuclear weapons unless the United States does. The U.S. signed the treaty in 1996 but it wasn’t ratified. Russian officials said they would not discuss nuclear issues with the U.S. until Washington drops its “hostile” policy.

Defense contractors in the US are beginning to see revenues rise as governments in the US and Europe begin to resupply stockpiles of munitions and systems sent to Ukraine.  War in Israel as well will only boost demand going forward.

Military Assistance to Ukraine

The German government has announced a new military aid package for Ukraine.  This assistance is worth $1.4 billion and includes the delivery of missiles and drones. Under this deal, Germany will provide three Gepard anti-aircraft cannon systems, 20 RQ-35 and 20 Vector unmanned air vehicles (UAVs), a single Biber assault bridge system, and three HX81 tank recovery vehicles.  Furthermore, Germany is expected to provide a Patriot surface-to-air missile (SAM) system to the Ukrainian military, as well as IRIS-Ts to equip ground-based air defense launchers.

Ukraine launched a joint venture with German arms maker Rheinmetall to maintain weapons donated to Kyiv. Ukraine also hopes that increased cooperation with manufacturers will help it bolster its own domestic arms industry.

The U.S. announced a $150 million security assistance package for Ukraine involving the donation of equipment from existing inventories. The deal includes NASAMS, AIM-9M, and Stinger air defense missiles; HIMARS ammunition; TOW and Javelin anti-tank missiles; 155mm and 105mm artillery rounds; as well as small arms ammunition, night vision devices, and other equipment.

U.S. officials say they are working to grow Ukraine’s defense industrial base. Initial work will focus on the maintenance and sustainment of equipment that has flooded into the country since Russia’s invasion, but investments will also be made in increasing Ukraine’s domestic military manufacturing capabilities.

Ukrainian pilots began a U.S. F-16 training program this week. A small number of pilots are with the 162nd Wing of the Arizona Air National Guard. The typical six-month training process is being accelerated.

The Ukrainian Army is about to receive the Ratel S (Honey Badger) 4×4 unmanned ground vehicle (UGV).  This a locally built system that is currently undergoing acceptance trials.

Battlefield Updates

Ukraine has used the U.S.-made Army Tactical Missiles Systems (ATACMS) for the first time in combat.  Russia is claiming its air defenders intercepted two of these missiles.

Russia has launched another air strike on Ukraine involving Russian-made Kh-59 guided missile, Iranian-made Shahed-136/131 attack drones and the Russian-built Lancet attack drone. Moscow also used S-300 surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) reconfigured for attacks on land-based targets.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy claimed that Russian warships are no longer safe operating in the Black Sea near Crimea. At the same time, Russia said it destroyed three Ukrainian unmanned naval vessels in the Black Sea.

Ukraine’s counteroffensive, which is approaching its fifth month, has progressed far slower than planned. Now, Ukrainian forces are running out of time before inclement seasonal weather turns fields to mud that will make large scale operations more difficult. There could be a lull in movement until the ground hardens with the winter cold.

Russia has reportedly freed over 100,000 prisoners to fight in Ukraine since the invasion early last year. Prisoners have been a critical component of Russia’s manpower surges as they try to replace mounting casualties from the front lines. The prison population declined from 420,000 at the start of the war to 266,000. The Wagner group is believed to have relied heavily on prisoners to build its original 50,000-strong force, and the defense ministry may have moved another 100,000 to support the war effort.

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