Pentagon says Russia’s attempts to hit Western weapons flowing into Ukraine having ‘no impact’

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Ukraine electrical substation hit by Russian strike

Ukraine electrical substation hit by Russian strike Omar Marques/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Russia is concentrating most of its military efforts in Ukraine on trying to capture territory in the east and south of the country, but it continues to strike cities and towns across Ukraine. And on Tuesday and Wednesday those strikes targeted electrical substations, railroad facilities, and other infrastructure in western and central Ukraine.

The Russian Defense Ministry said the attacks on the rail infrastructure are meant to disrupt the delivery of Western weapons — Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu griped that the U.S. and its allies are “stuffing Ukraine with weapons.” A senior Pentagon official said Wednesday that despite Russia’s efforts, “there’s been no impact to our ability to continue flows into Ukraine. We’ve seen no indications that any of this Western aid has been impeded or even struck.”

“There’s no indication at all that there’s a Russian impediment to the flow” of U.S. arms to Ukraine, the Pentagon official said. “Our focus is on getting it to them. Their focus is on getting it into the fight and using it. And that’s happening.” Ukraine has 81 of 90 promised U.S. howitzers, and “we know that they are using some of those howitzers in the fight,” the official said, “but I think I’m just going to demur” on the specific number.

The flow of weapons into Ukraine “continues every single day,” and they “are getting into Ukrainian hands,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said later Wednesday. “We’re not going to talk about the ways in which materials getting inside Ukraine,” but “there are lots of ways to do that” and “those ways change over time.”

Ukraine and Russia both rely on the rail systems to transport military personnel and supplies, the Pentagon official said, but the Russian strikes on critical infrastructure out west have had “no appreciable impact” on Ukraine’s ability to replenish its forces. Overall, Russia’s “ability to target with precision has been less than advertised throughout this entire war,” Kirby added. “They are not good at precision strikes.”

Russia’s strikes on “non-military targets” also show its “willingness to target civilian infrastructure in an attempt to weaken Ukrainian resolve” and damage its economy, Britain’s Ministry of Defense said. These missile strikes on our cities “will get proper answers,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky vowed Wednesday night. “Both legal and quite practical — on the battlefield.”

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