Russia has yet to slow a Western arms express into Ukraine | News

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Western weaponry pouring into Ukraine helped blunt Russia’s initial offensive and seems certain to play a central role in the approaching, potentially decisive, battle for Ukraine’s contested Donbas region. Yet the Russian military is making little headway halting what has become a historic arms express.

The U.S. numbers alone are mounting: more than 12,000 weapons designed to defeat armored vehicles, some 1,400 shoulder-fired Stinger missiles to shoot down aircraft and more than 50 million rounds of ammunition, among many other things. Dozens of other nations are adding to the totals.

President Joe Biden on Wednesday approved another $800 million worth of military assistance, including additional helicopters and the first provision of American artillery.

These armaments have helped an under-gunned Ukrainian military defy predictions that it would be quickly overrun by Russia. They explain in part why Russian President Vladimir Putin’s army gave up, at least for now, its attempt to capture Kyiv, the capital, and has narrowed its focus to battling for eastern and southern Ukraine.

U.S. officials and analysts offer numerous explanations for why the Russians have had so little success interdicting Western arms moving overland from neighboring countries, including Poland. Among the likely reasons: Russia’s failure to win full control of Ukraine’s skies has limited its use of air power.

Also, the Russians have struggled to deliver weapons and supplies to their own troops in Ukraine.

Some say Moscow’s problem begins at home.

“The short answer to the question is that they are an epically incompetent army badly led from the very top,” said James Stavridis, a retired U.S. Navy admiral who was the top NATO commander in Europe from 2009 to 2013.

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