in Crimea were huge. They destroyed nine Sukhoi Su-24 and Sukhoi Su-33 Soviet aircraft and threw a steel beam through a car some way away,” said Crump, who is also the CEO of the geopolitical risk and intelligence consultancy firm Sibylline. “Ukraine is still being coy on the cause, but clearly something is up,” he added, referring to the possibility that the West has sent more weapons systems to the country than it has officially announced. Crump is leaning more toward drones. He said Western governments have so far hesitated to provide Ukraine with the longer-range ATACMS, because they fear Russia would see it as an escalation. Are they new enough? Ukraine has also been vocal in its wishes for new state-of-the-art weaponry, such as the Iron Dome, a mobile air defense system developed by the Israeli firms Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Israel Aerospace Industries, which the makers say can intercept incoming missiles with a 97% success rate. But Cancian pointed out that the weapons being donated to Ukraine are not exactly old equipment being tossed out by wealthier countries: The U.S. bought several NASAMS to protect the White House in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. Fragments of missiles that inspectors believe were fired from U.S.-supplied HIMARS systems near Olenivka
missiles to have any chance of damaging Russian assets like ammunition warehouses. Cancian said Ukraine has to fight smartly, because it has two-thirds less ammunition than Russia, so every weapons launch has to be precisely targeted and must hit a high-value Russian target. He said Ukraine, which began the war with old Soviet weaponry, has done well, given its army has had to come to grips with complex new weapons systems while constantly under fire. “We are pushing Ukraine through training programs in a few weeks. In comparison, we take a few months to train U.S. Marine Corps infantry,” Cancian said. What don’t we know? While the Defense Department continues to hold weekly briefings with the media, some military experts now suspect that some more sophisticated weapon technology donations given to Ukrainians are being kept a secret from the world. On Monday, the Pentagon acknowledged in a news briefing that the U.S. had sent anti-radar missiles to Ukraine for the first time. The weapons have not been mentioned in any of the military aid packages announced so far by the Biden administration. “It is what is not being talked about that could prove most important” to Ukraine’s war efforts, said Justin Crump, a 27-year veteran British army tank commander who was on the ground in Kyiv in July. “Ukraine has more aircraft than it used to and better systems — this shouldn’t be happening six months into a war with Russia,” Crump said. He said he suspected that Western governments have supplied Ukraine with the M982 Excalibur — a 155 mm precision-guided artillery shell that can be loaded into long-range M777 howitzer guns. Developed by the Arizona-based
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