Russian strikes on Ukraine spotlight Moldova’s energy woes
CHISINAU, Moldova (AP) — Massive blackouts that temporarily hit more than a half-dozen cities across Moldova this week highlighted the impact Russia's war in Ukraine is having on Europe's poorest country. The power outages happened Tuesday as the Russian military pounded infrastructure targets across Ukraine, which borders Moldova. Less than a week earlier, the European Union pledged 250 million euros (nearly $260 million) to help the former Soviet republic tackle a severe energy crisis after Russia halved its natural gas supply.Moldova became a candidate for EU membership in June, on the same day neighboring Ukraine did.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The intense firefight over Ukraine has the Pentagon rethinking its weapons stockpiles. If another major war broke out today, would the United States have enough ammunition to fight? © Provided by The Associated Press FILE - U.S.-supplied M777 howitzer shells lie on the ground to fire at Russian positions in Ukraine's eastern Donbas region June 18, 2022. The intense firefight over Ukraine has the Pentagon rethinking its weapons stockpiles. If another major war broke out today, would the U.S. have enough ammunition to fight? It’s a question Pentagon planners are grappling with not only as the look to supply Ukraine for a war that could stretch for years, but also as they look to a potential conflict with China. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky, File)
It’s a question confronting Pentagon planners, not only as they aim to supply Ukraine for a war with Russia that could stretch years longer, but also as they look ahead to a potential conflict with China.
Where's Putin? Leader leaves bad news on Ukraine to others
TALLINN, Estonia (AP) — When Russia's top military brass announced in a televised appearance that they were pulling troops out of the key city of Kherson in southern Ukraine, one man missing from the room was President Vladimir Putin. As Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Gen. Sergei Surovikin, Russia’s chief commander in Ukraine, stiffly recited the reasons for the retreat in front of the cameras on Nov. 9, Putin was touring a neurological hospital in Moscow, watching a doctor perform brain surgery. © Provided by The Associated Press FILE - In this handout photo taken from video released by Russian Defense Ministry Press Service on Wednesday, Nov.
Russia is firing as many as 20,000 rounds a day, ranging from bullets for automatic rifles to truck-sized cruise missiles. Ukraine is answering with as many as 7,000 rounds a day, firing 155 mm howitzer rounds, Stinger anti-aircraft missiles and now NASAMS air defense munitions, and thousands of rounds of small arms fire.
Much of Ukraine’s firepower is being supplied through U.S. government-funded weapons that are pushed almost weekly to the front lines. On Wednesday, the Biden administration announced an additional round of aid that will provide 20 million more rounds of small arms ammunition to Kyiv.
“We’ve not been in a position where we’ve got only a few days of some critical munition left,” Pentagon comptroller Michael McCord told reporters this month. “But we are now supporting a partner who is.”
Ukraine Situation Report: Possible Drone Boat Attack On Russian Port
Video shows what is said to be a Ukrainian 'kamikaze' drone boat attacking a port inside Russian territory.The video appears to be from a closed-circuit television camera system that is trained on the harbor over a road. Cars can be seen driving across the frame before an explosion occurs pierside on the far side of the harbor.
U.S. defense production lines are not scaled to supply a major land war, and some, like for the Stinger, were previously shut down.
That's putting pressure on U.S. reserves and has officials asking whether U.S. weapons stockpiles are big enough. Would the U.S. be ready to respond to a major conflict today, for example if China invaded Taiwan?
“What would happen if something blew up in Indo-Pacom? Not five years from now, not 10 years from now, what if it happened next week?” Bill LaPlante, the Pentagon’s top weapons buyer, said, referring to the military's Indo-Pacific Command. He spoke at a defense acquisitions conference this month at George Mason University in Virginia.
“What do we have in any degree of quantity? That will actually be effective? Those are the questions we’re asking right this minute,” he said.
The Army uses many of the same munitions that have proven most critical in Ukraine, including High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, known as HIMARS, Stinger missiles and 155 mm howitzer rounds, and is now reviewing its stockpile requirements, Doug Bush, the Army’s assistant secretary for acquisition, told reporters Monday.
More than 3,500 Russian soldiers have called Ukraine's surrender helpline, official says
The "I Want to Live" hotline was launched just before Putin announced a mass mobilization of reservists. Ukraine says it's had thousands of queries.Government officials on Tuesday said water had been fully restored, but some 20,000 apartments in the Kyiv region remained in the dark — an increasingly common reality for many Ukrainians as Russia targets the country's energy and power sources in an effort to freeze the country out as autumn turns to winter.
“They’re seeing what Ukraine is using, what we can produce and how fast we can ramp up, all of which are factors you would work into, ‘OK, how (big) does your pre-war stockpile need to be?” Bush said. “The slower you ramp up, the bigger the pile needs to be at the start.”
The military aid packages the U.S. sends either pull inventory from stockpiles or fund contracts with industry to step up production. At least $19 billion in military aid has been committed to date, including 924,000 artillery rounds for 155mm howitzers, more than 8,500 Javelin anti-tank systems, 1,600 Stinger anti-aircraft systems and hundreds of vehicles and drones. It’s also provided advanced air defense systems and 38 HIMARS, although the Pentagon does not disclose how many rounds of ammunition it sends with the rocket systems. © Provided by The Associated Press Military personnel stand next to U.S. Harpoon A-84, anti-ship missiles and AIM-120 and AIM-9 air-to-air missiles prepared for a weapon loading drills in front of a U.S. F-16V fighter jet at the Hualien Airbase in Taiwan's southeastern Hualien county, Aug. 17, 2022. The intense firefight over Ukraine has the Pentagon rethinking its weapons stockpiles. If another major war broke out today, would the U.S. have enough ammunition to fight? It’s a question Pentagon planners are grappling with not only as the look to supply Ukraine for a war that could stretch for years, but also as they look to a potential conflict with China. (AP Photo/Johnson Lai, File)
The infusion of weapons is raising questions on Capitol Hill.
Ukraine Situation Report: Germany Deploying Patriots To Poland's Border
Ukraine hopes that the Patriot battery Germany will send to Poland can protect its skies from Russia as well.“I accepted with satisfaction the proposal of the German Minister of Defense regarding the deployment of additional Patriot missile launchers in our country,” Blaszczak said in a tweet. “During today's telephone conversation with the German side, I will propose that the system be stationed at the border with Ukraine.
This month, the administration asked Congress to provide $37 billion more in military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine in the post-election legislative session, and to approve it before Republicans take control of the House in January. House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy of California, who is seeking to become speaker, has warned that Republicans would not support writing a “blank check” for Ukraine.
Even with fresh money, stockpiles cannot be quickly replenished. Several of the systems proving most vital in Ukraine had their production lines shut down years ago. Keeping a production line open is expensive, and the Army had other spending priorities. © Provided by The Associated Press FILE - U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Cody Brown, right, with the 436th Aerial Port Squadron, checks pallets of 155 mm shells ultimately bound for Ukraine, April 29, 2022, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. The U.S. is sending another $400 million to Ukraine, pushing needed ammunition and generators to Ukraine from its own stockpiles, which will allow the aid to get to Ukraine faster than if the Pentagon procured the weapons from industry., getting needed heat and additional air defenses to Kyiv as winter sets in. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)
The Pentagon awarded Raytheon a $624 million contract for 1,300 new Stinger missiles in May, but the company said it will not be able to increase production until next year due to parts shortages.
Ancient anti-aircraft guns are taking on a new mission amid Russia's war in Ukraine
Flak is back: The war in Ukraine has shown that older anti-aircraft guns still have a role on the battlefield.Russian and Ukrainian forces are both discovering that they need lots of air defenses — including relatively low-tech anti-aircraft guns — to deal with the jets, helicopters, drones, and missiles crowding the skies over Ukraine.
“The Stinger line was shut down in 2008,” LaPlante said. “Really, who did that? We all did it. You did it. We did it,” he said, referring to Congress and the Pentagon’s decision not to fund continued production of the Army’s anti-aircraft munition, which can be launched by a soldier or mounted to a platform or truck.
Based on an analysis of past Army budget documents, Center for Strategic and International Studies senior adviser Mark Cancian estimates that the 1,600 Stinger systems the U.S. has provided to Ukraine represent about one-quarter of its total arsenal.
The HIMARS system, which Ukraine has used so effectively in its counteroffensive, faces some of the same challenges, LaPlante said.
“The thing now that is saving Ukraine, and that everybody around the world wants, we stopped production of it,” he said.
HIMARS production was shut down by the Army from about 2014 to 2018, LaPlante said. The Army is now trying to ramp up production to build up to eight a month, or 96 a year, Bush said.
HIMARS effectiveness in Ukraine has increased interest elsewhere, too. Poland, Lithuania and Taiwan have put in orders, even as the U.S. works to rush more to Ukraine. If the conflict drags on and more HIMARS ammunition is prioritized for Ukraine, that could potentially limit U.S. troops' access to the rounds for live-fire training.
The Pentagon this month announced a $14.4 million contract to speed production of new HIMARS to replenish its stocks.
“This conflict has revealed that munitions production in the United States and with our allies is likely insufficient for major land wars,” said Ryan Brobst, an analyst at the Center on Military and Political Power at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.
The U.S. also recently announced it would be supplying Ukraine with four Avenger air defense systems, portable launchers that can be mounted on tracked or wheeled vehicles, to provide another shorter-range option against the Iranian drones being used by Russia's forces. But the Avenger systems rely on Stinger missiles, too.
Pentagon deputy press secretary Sabrina Singh said stockpile concerns were taken into account.
“We wouldn’t have provided these Stinger missiles if we didn’t feel that we could,” Singh said at a recent Pentagon briefing.
Follow AP coverage of the war in Ukraine at: https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine
EXPLAINER: Can Ukraine pay for war without wrecking economy? .
FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Even as Ukraine celebrates recent battlefield victories, its government faces a looming challenge on the financial front: how to pay the enormous cost of the war effort without triggering out-of-control price spikes for ordinary people or piling up debt that could hamper postwar reconstruction. The struggle is finding loans or donations to cover a massive budget deficit for next year — and do it without using central bank bailouts that risk wrecking Ukraine's currency, the hryvnia.