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Zelenskyy’s new weapons wish list- POLITICO | #cybersecurity | #cyberattack | #hacking | #aihp

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Rep. JASON CROW (D-Colo.), a member of the congressional delegation to Ukraine last weekend, spoke at length with Ukrainian President VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY about the new weapons he requested to fend off Russia’s invasion.

He told a small group of reporters, including NatSec Daily, what the Ukrainian leader is asking for.

First, per Crow, “he needs more sophisticated, longer-range drones that can target, that have sophisticated precision-strike munitions and that can also return and be used multiple times and be rearmed.”

The U.S. has already provided Switchblade drones — small, light remotely piloted vehicles that can loiter in the air for up to 30 minutes before being directed to targets by an operator on the ground, dozens of miles away. Basically, it’s a one-and-done kamikaze weapon that’s helped Ukrainian forces to date, but which has limited utility in the more open battlefields of the eastern Donbas. Zelenskyy assesses reusable and more advanced drones would help his troops in the war’s new phase.

Second, the Ukrainian president wants “increased shipments of U.S. artillery supplies,” said Crow, a member of the House Armed Services Committee. “What we need to do is provide multiple-launch rocket systems,” or MLRS, he continued, especially the MARS system which has a longer range than other artillery equipment Ukraine has. “That would really have a devastating impact on the Russian military and provide Ukrainians with a new tool to defend themselves, but actually reseize the territory that was taken over by the Russians.”

Third, Crow reports that Zelenskyy wants more anti-ship missiles in Ukraine’s arsenal, namely Harpoons. “This system is actually going to be really critical for not just the Ukrainian economy, but worldwide hunger as well,” he said, noting that Ukraine has placed mines all around the strategic Port of Odessa to prevent Russian ships from entering.

But, as a result, Ukraine can’t export key commodities like grain or sunflower oil that help feed much of the world, particularly millions in the Middle East and Africa. Ukraine plans to remove the mines once it has a reliable and equivalent defensive capability against a Russian amphibious assault on the city, Crow said.

The lawmaker added that he came away from the Ukraine trip with an appreciation that Zelenskyy wouldn’t ask for weapons his troops couldn’t use or that the U.S. couldn’t deliver. The Ukrainian president displayed a “mastery” of wartime tactics, making his requests to American legislators credible, Crow said.

The Coloradan noted two other important items.

Zelenskyy wants a new training regime with the U.S., even as American forces continually train their Ukrainian counterparts. The issue is Zelenskyy doesn’t want to remove his top commanders or troops from the battlefield. So, per Crow, “we need to set up Mobile Training Teams in a more permanent and enduring training presence to more regularly rotate smaller, more junior Ukrainian Armed Forces elements out of Ukraine to be trained on these new systems over the months to come.”

NatSec Daily later in the session asked if Crow deemed Kyiv safe enough for President JOE BIDEN or Vice President KAMALA HARRIS to visit, seeing as he joined Speaker of the House NANCY PELOSI (D-Calif.) — second in line to the presidency — on the trip.

Crow noted that the trip into the Ukrainian capital was difficult logistically and not without risk, as evidenced by Russian airstrikes that fell before and after the visit. He said the “security situation is extremely erratic” and it was up to the White House’s security team to determine whether any of America’s top two leaders could safely see Zelenskyy in person.

Without pointing fingers, Crow did make this remark: “I’m of the view that global leadership and U.S. leadership always entail some risks. If you want to be a leader, particularly on very difficult national security issues, and if we’re going to step up and stand shoulder-to-shoulder with people who are fighting for their survival, there’s always risks to that.”

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