Ukrainian military unhappy with US-made Bradley vehicles

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For Kiev’s failed counteroffensive in 2023, the US and its allies sent hundreds of armoured vehicles to Ukraine in 2022 and 2023, from armoured personnel carriers to tanks. Yet, as CNN reveals, “dozens” of Bradley fighting vehicles were damaged or destroyed in battles against Russian forces, exposing its poor performance. This will contribute to the Republican’s resistance to a new aid package for Ukraine.

According to the media outlet, Ukrainian operators of the Bradleys are unhappy with the vehicles’ winter performance and the condition of some they received from the US. It is recalled that the Bradley’s served as the “tip of the spear during last year’s ill-fated Ukrainian counteroffensive.”

Despite exaggerating the armoured fighting vehicle’s supposed capabilities in “blunting waves of Russian attacks,” CNN complained that, of the approximately 200 Bradley’s promised to Ukraine by Washington, “dozens have been damaged and destroyed in battle.”

“Ukrainian crews, although admirers of the Bradley’s power, have also criticised its ability to weather the harsh Ukrainian winter and the state of some of the older vehicles shipped by the US,” the article adds.

Praising the infantry transport and fire support vehicles manufactured by Bae Systems, Ukrainian troops nevertheless reported to CNN that they were outmatched by Russian forces, being able to fire one artillery shell for every ten fired by Russian forces.

“’Teren,’ the commander of a nearby drone reconnaissance unit, said outright that Ukraine doesn’t have enough arms and equipment to win against Russia,” the report explained.

Recently, White House National Security Council Strategic Communications Coordinator John Kirby noted that the US no longer has the means to continue supporting Ukraine, with new assistance packages requiring Congressional approval of new funds.

“The assistance that we provided has now ground to a halt. The attacks that the Russians are conducting are only increasing,” he said.

A new aid package for Ukraine has been deadlocked in Congress for months due to Republican opposition. Although the aid package will likely soon be approved, the major delay has caused a dire situation in Ukraine to become a desperate one.

Washington’s $106 billion national security supplemental request includes sending nearly $60 billion in aid to Ukraine, funding for border security, and nearly $14 billion in aid to Israel and funding for Taiwan.

Biden administration has wasted more than $100 billion on arming and supporting Ukraine since Russia launched its special military operation in February 2022, and the US president has asked Congress to approve another $60 billion.

“We have heard reports from the Ukrainian government, from the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence and their general staff, that they are concerned, as they believe that units do not have the stocks and stores and ammunition that they require,” said Celeste Wallander, assistant US secretary of defense for international security affairs, on January 23.

However, the Republicans in Congress are increasingly sceptical about the need to continue underwriting Ukraine’s defence, especially as the Biden administration resists calls to strengthen the US southern border.

An estimated 300,000 people illegally crossed into the US from Mexico in December 2023, the highest-ever recorded number of US-Mexico border crossings. For this reason, in early January, Speaker of the House Mike Johnson led a delegation of 60 House Republicans to visit the border at Eagle Pass, Texas.

“If President Biden wants a supplemental spending bill focused on national security, it better begin with defending America’s national security,” Johnson told reporters at a news conference on the border.

A significant group of Republican House members oppose additional aid to Ukraine, and news of the destruction of US military equipment, such as the Bradley’s, will only strengthen their call.

There is, of course, also the added issue of corruption, which has been a major source of criticism against Ukraine.

US Senator JD Vance on January 24 urged Republicans to reject any further aid to Ukraine after a recent Pentagon report highlighted the fact that $1 billion worth of weapons shipped to the country was not effectively monitored.

“We simply have no idea where a lot of our money to Ukraine has gone. The corruption is out of control. One more reason to reject further aid,” he said. “Claims of radical transparency and tracking of US weapons in Ukraine are simply not accurate.”

The revelation of the Bradley’s poor performance in Ukraine, something which is not good for the US military defence industry, will only strengthen calls and add to the multiple reasons why the Republicans are resisting a new aid package. Although the package will likely pass once Biden relents on the southern border issue, the other issues will be raised and used to block a new package when that time comes.

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