The possibility of Ukraine's army collapsing cannot be ruled out a US official has warned, report says

  • The collapse of Ukraine's army cannot be ruled out, a US official told Bloomberg.

  • Russia has been advancing on the battlefield in recent weeks.

  • Ukraine's ammunition supplies and air defense capabilities are dwindling, say reports.

The possibility of Ukraine's army collapsing cannot be ruled out, an unnamed US official told Bloomberg.

The report said, citing talks with multiple officials, that Ukraine's position on the battlefield is at its most fragile moment since Russia's full-scale invasion began in February 2022

Ukraine's war effort has been weakened in recent months by a severe shortage of ammunition, dipping morale among Ukrainian soldiers, and the impasse in Congress over US aid to Ukraine, Bloomberg reported.

One major risk is a collapse of Ukraine's line of defense, which would allow Russia to make a major advance, Bloomberg said, citing an official speaking anonymously.

In recent weeks, building on its capture of Avdiivka, Russia has advanced incrementally in eastern Ukraine, claiming new territory and threatening the town of Chasiv Yar in the Donetsk region.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said Friday that the government would allocate a further Hr 3.88 billion (almost $100 million) to help reinforce fortifications, primarily in the Kharkiv and Sumy regions, which sit near Russia's border.

However, The Wall Street Journal reported in March that although Ukrainian troops were building fortifications in preparation for an oncoming Russian offensive, there are fears that not enough progress is being made.

"What's happening right now is what Russia has spent a long time preparing for. It has gathered enough forces and resources to pressure various axes all at once," Maksym Zhorin, the deputy commander of the Third Assault Brigade, told the WSJ.

Meanwhile, Russia appears to have largely replaced its heavy battlefield losses, and at a much faster pace than anticipated, top US General Christopher Cavoli warned lawmakers on April 11.

"Russia is reconstituting that force far faster than our initial estimates suggested," Cavoli said in a statement to Congress. "The army is actually now larger — by 15 percent — than it was when it invaded Ukraine."

Ukraine's air defense capabilities are also showing vulnerabilities, as more Russian missiles and drones are hitting targets such as critical infrastructure facilities. The largest power plant delivering energy to Kyiv was destroyed Thursday raising concerns that Ukraine might be running out of surface-to-air missiles to counter Russian airstrikes, The Washington Post reported Friday.

"We need air defense systems and other defense assistance, not just turning a blind eye and having lengthy discussions," President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a post on X.

US aid to Ukraine

A new $60 billion US military aid has been held up in Congress since December due to opposition from some Republicans.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and President Joe Biden shake hands during a meeting inside the East Room at the White House on Thursday, September 21, 2023. Biden announced that Ukraine would be receiving American M1 Abrams tanks before 2024.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and President Joe Biden meet at the White House in September 2023.The Washington Post / Getty

The White House has tried to keep at least some aid passing through, sending $300 million in additional weapons last month and an emergency $138 million for upgrades to a key missile defense system, HAWK, earlier this week.

"If Congress does not help Ukraine, then Ukraine will lose the war," Zelenskyy warned Sunday to a group of celebrity ambassadors.

Zelenskyy said last week he remained hopeful of a "positive vote" in Congress, and suggested that Kyiv would be willing to receive the aid as a loan rather than a handout, an idea originally put forward by Donald Trump.

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