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Ukraine has been engaged in a war against Russia for over two years, with the U.S. and European allies providing defensive aid. However, recent small advances by Russia have brought attention to the shortages in Ukraine’s defense supplies. While the Biden administration has pledged to continue supporting Kyiv, Congress’ inability to pass substantial aid measures means Ukrainian soldiers are facing challenges on the front lines. As a result, there are concerns that Russia may achieve a breakthrough in 2024 if critical resupply does not occur.

European allies, including the U.K., have increased their spending on defensive aid for Ukraine, outspending the United States. However, the long lead times for creating new factories for producing artillery or ammunition mean that immediate supplies are limited. The U.S. continues to play a strategic bridging role until these factories become operational. Ukraine’s ability to advance on Russian lines or prevent small gains has also been hampered by depleted air defenses, as well as attacks on critical infrastructure within Ukraine’s interior.

Russia has been conducting intense bombing campaigns on Ukrainian infrastructure, using various types of missiles sourced from countries like Iran. While Ukraine has some air defense systems, they are not sufficient to protect both interior infrastructure and front line positions. The Russian military has shown improvement in effectiveness and lethality, adapting their strategies to saturate Ukraine’s air defense bandwidth. If Russia gains air superiority, they may resort to carpet bombing campaigns similar to those seen in Syria.

Despite being able to hold front line positions for several months, experts agree that Ukraine will not be able to sustain this for much longer without continued support from the United States. The possibility of Russia achieving uncontested air superiority poses a significant threat to Ukraine’s defense capabilities. Without ongoing support, Ukraine may be at risk of losing the war against Russia. The situation remains dire, as Ukraine faces the challenge of maintaining its defensive capabilities against an increasingly aggressive Russian military.

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