RPT - NATO Countries Using Ukraine To Get Rid Of Outdated Weapons - Expert

MOSCOW (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 26th July, 2023) NATO countries have been pumping weapons into Ukraine since the beginning of the conflict with Russia, but most of them are outdated and have been mothballed for decades, military expert and former high-ranking NATO artillery officer Pierre Henrot told Sputnik.

"NATO countries in fact only send their oldest equipment to Ukraine and take the opportunity to replenish their armament for their armies with new generations of equipment. Examples abound: the Poles, who are the most committed alongside Ukraine, to the point that they are talking about entering western Ukraine themselves, provided very early (on) all their Soviet-era tanks to the Ukrainians and have just received for the Polish army a first contingent of American Abrams tanks, brand new and manufactured for them," Henrot said.

Other countries have also provided decommissioned equipment, including 88 German Leopard 1 tanks that were withdrawn from arsenals in 2003, and French AMX 10-RC light tanks that were developed in the 1970s and have been decommissioned by the French army as well, Henrot added.

"The worst is probably the delivery by France of VAB armored infantry vehicles (Vehicules de l'Avant Blindes), in a four-wheeled version, which invariably gets bogged down in the autumn mud. Entering service in 1979, it has proven to be a rolling coffin for Ukrainian infantry over the past year," the expert further explained.

Some countries, including the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Romania, also sent Ukraine all their Soviet MiG or Sukhoi fighters, he said. Another problem with such ragtag deliveries is that the spare parts and ammunition for such weapons are often different and incompatible with one another, the expert pointed out.

"It is as if the NATO partners were getting rid of their outdated weapons, already mothballed," Henrot said.

However, some of Western military aid is useful for the Ukrainian military, and of good quality, the expert noted, adding that it is usually equipment for small arms, bulletproof vests and night sight systems, as well as US-made Stingers and Javelins.

"Where the Americans provided suitable and effective weapons, it was with the 2,000 portable anti-aircraft Stingers delivered or with the 10,000 Javelin anti-armor weapons provided; formidable weapons in the hands of infantrymen. It is the same for the NLAW (Next Generation Light AntiTank Weapons), a useful weapon on the battlefield. These light weapons proved to be essential at the beginning of the conflict. The American Stryker or Bradley armored infantry vehicles also do the job effectively," he noted.

At the same time, the Western countries often lack sufficient capacities to produce weapons required by the Ukrainian military, Henrot said.

"NATO countries fail to keep up with the production of ammunition for artillery and even for small arms. Again, the variety of calibers is very large; it's a headache, but above all, there are not enough production chains, and industrialists are reluctant to launch production units for an effort that could stop quite quickly, and they have not received a firm long-term contract from Western governments," he noted.

The expert believes that the recent widely criticized decision of the United States to send cluster bombs to Ukraine is the demonstration of the same problem.

"The Americans for their part have almost openly admitted that it was their last ammo in stock and that they have nothing left to deliver," Henrot concluded.