June 7,2024

Victory Chronicles-DAY 835

Biden apologizes to Zelenskyy for monthslong congressional holdup to weapons that let Russia gain

President Biden has issued an apology to Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy for the prolonged delay in delivering weapons, a setback that allowed Russian forces to achieve strategic gains.

In Paris, after attending the 80th-anniversary celebrations of D-Day, President Joe Biden issued a public apology to Ukraine for the significant delays in U.S. military aid, which enabled Russian forces to make tactical gains. Addressing the issue, Biden expressed his regret over the uncertainty of the aid’s arrival, attributing the holdup to conservative Republicans in Congress who delayed the $61 billion military package. Despite these setbacks, Biden affirmed the unwavering support of the American people for Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged bipartisan support in the U.S., drawing parallels to the solidarity experienced during World War II. He expressed gratitude towards the U.S. lawmakers who eventually approved the military aid, acknowledging its crucial role in curbing Russia’s recent advances. Zelenskyy stressed the significance of American unity in aiding Ukraine’s defense against the Russian invasion.


Symbolic number of the Day

$225 million

The United States is set to provide Ukraine with approximately $225 million in military aid, including ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), mortar systems, and artillery shells. 

This aid package aims to strengthen Ukraine’s defenses and specifically help defend the city of Kharkiv from a potential Russian attack. Although Ukraine is now allowed to use these weapons in self-defense across the border with Russia, the policy still prohibits offensive strikes inside Russia using U.S.-provided munitions. President Joe Biden emphasized the U.S.’s commitment to defending Ukraine during a speech on D-Day, stating that the U.S. will not back down from protecting Ukraine and ensuring that Russia does not pose a threat to Europe. 


War in Pictures


The State Emergency Service of Ukraine has released photos of the ongoing large-scale fire in Kyiv Oblast, which was caused by Russian shelling. Fire and rescue units from Kyiv Oblast and the city of Kyiv are working at the scene, and a robot and a fire train are being used to extinguish the fire.


Video of the Day

43 The Separate Artillery Brigade released a video with an example of counter-battery combat performed by its artillerymen.


ISW report


Limitations on Western capabilities to train partner pilots on F-16 fighter jets are reportedly creating bottlenecks that will affect Ukraine’s ability to effectively field F-16s in the future. 

Politico reported that Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands, and Belgium plan to send over 60 F-16 aircraft to Ukraine in Summer 2024. Politico reported on June 5 that US, European, and Ukrainian officials and lawmakers stated that US, Danish, and Romanian F-16 pilot training facilities can only train a limited number of Ukrainian pilots, however. Politico reported that US Air Force Spokesperson Laurel Falls stated that the US National Guard is planning to train 12 Ukrainian pilots by the end of September 2024. 

The Danish training facility is reportedly training eight Ukrainian pilots, but this facility will reportedly close in November 2024, and the Romanian training facility is reportedly not yet operational. A full squadron of 20 aircraft requires 40 pilots. A former DoD official reportedly stated that if the current training constraints continue, Ukraine will only have enough pilots for a full squadron at the end of 2025. Ukraine will not be able to use all the Western-provided aircraft as effectively as possible until the necessary number of Ukrainian pilots complete training.

Select Western countries have indicated that Ukraine will be permitted to use F-16s for strikes within Russia but Ukraine’s ability to operate F-16s near the international border is contingent on Ukraine’s ability to destroy air defense assets in Russia.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stated on May 18 that Ukraine needs about 120–130 advanced fighter aircraft to achieve air parity with Russia but that Russia’s biggest advantage is Western-imposed restrictions prohibiting Ukraine from using Western-provided weapons to strike military targets in Russia.

Ukraine may be able to set conditions to have Ukrainian aviation operate in the air domain to support Ukrainian ground operations if Ukraine is able to sufficiently destroy Russian air defense assets within Russia using Western long-range strike capabilities, obtain a sufficient cadre of pilots capable of flying F-16s, and receive a timely delivery and a sufficient number of F-16 airframes.


War heroes

27-year-old fighter Andriy Kovalyuk, with the call sign Rambo, died in a Dnipro hospital on February 1, 2024. The day before, he was seriously wounded in a battle near the village of Ocheretyne in Donetsk Oblast. He received 88% burns and a head injury. Doctors tried to save him, but the fighter’s heart stopped.

Andriy was born in the village of Khorotsevo, Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast. After school, he served in the military. Later he got married and moved to the village of Babyn, where his beloved was from. The couple traveled abroad to work. They dreamed of family comfort and children.

When a full-scale war broke out, the couple had a son. In March 2022, Andrii went to the front. At first, he fought as part of the 22nd Separate Rifle Battalion of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, then joined the 116th Separate Mechanized Brigade. He served as a gunner operator and deputy commander of a combat vehicle. He participated in battles in Kharkiv, Zaporizhzhia and Donetsk Oblasts. The Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine awarded him the Golden Cross.

“Andriy was honored to defend Ukraine shoulder to shoulder with his fighters. He is remembered as brave, courageous, with a big heart, and always smiling,” said his wife.

“How hard it is to live without your blood… My son, my bright falcon, died defending our land from the invaders. He gave his life for Ukraine. No one can understand a mother’s pain, which breaks the heart. Words cannot express it,” wrote Lyudmyla Petrushko’s mother.

The fighter was buried in the village of Babyn, Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast. He is survived by his wife Maria, 2-year-old son Vadym and loving family and friends. 

*Andriy’s story on the Heroes Memorial – a platform for stories about the fallen defenders of Ukraine.


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