As Kiev’s offensive fails to achieve its goals, Western officials are increasingly preparing for a war of attrition in Ukraine. Prague says it is searching its military stockpiles for more weapons to send to Ukraine.
The leader of the Czech armed forces, Lt. Gen. Karel Rehka, told Reuters the current offensive was going as expected, and he believed the war in Ukraine would stretch well into the future. “This is how a military offensive looks. It is not like a World War Two movie. It takes time,” he said. “In the overall picture, I think there is currently no capacity on either side to reach their ultimate declared objectives any time soon. It won’t last a few weeks, it will last for long, probably. And it’s important that we keep supporting Ukrainians for a long time.”
Recently, American military officials explained that the F-16s that the West plans to transfer to Ukraine will not become effective until years in the future. Gen. James Hecker explained, “You can get proficient on some weapons systems fairly quickly. It takes a while to build a couple of squadrons of F-16s and to get their readiness high enough and their proficiency high enough. This could be four or five years down the road.”
The general added that once the advanced warplane is operating at its potential, it will not be a war-altering weapon. “[The F-16s are] not going to be the silver bullet, that all of a sudden, they’re going to start taking down SA- 21s [NATO designation for the Russian long-range S-400] because they have an F-16.”
It is unclear how long Kiev could wage a war of attrition against Moscow. Russia has a far larger population than Ukraine does. While Kiev’s Western backers have supplied billions in arms to Ukraine, Moscow has been able to produce more artillery rounds than Kiev’s collective supporters. The disparity could weigh heavily on the outcome of the war, as artillery has played a massive role in the fighting so far.
Rehka stated that the Czech Republic is searching through existing weapons stockpiles to find more arms that can be shipped to Ukraine. “We have provided a lot considering our size and what we have in our military. Believe me, we are going through different storages and plans and concepts and trying to identify what more we can provide. We still have some, including some heavy equipment,” he said.