After renouncing to seize kyiv and Kharkiv, the Russian forces were ordered to evacuate Kherson, the capital of the region of the same name recently annexed to Russia. This movement, presented by Moscow as being a “tactical withdrawal” towards the southern bank of the Dnieper river, enabled the Ukrainian army to easily reconquer it.
It remains to be seen what happens next… And we will have to monitor in particular the situation around the Kakhovka dam, the destruction of which would lead to the flooding of Kherson and more than 80 localities in the surrounding area. As a reminder, Kyiv accused Russian forces of mining it while Moscow claimed it was damaged by a Ukrainian strike.
However, since October, Russian forces have regularly targeted Ukrainian critical infrastructure, such as power plants and water distribution networks, including with Shahed-136 vagrant ammunition. [ou Geran-2] and drones supplied by Iran. This support from Tehran to Moscow could go a step further with the delivery of ballistic missiles.
Also, kyiv insists on obtaining air defense systems from its Western backers. However, delivering such a capability to the Ukrainian forces is not so simple. Thus, the Gepard anti-aircraft armored vehicles supplied by Berlin risk running out of 35 mm ammunition, Switzerland having vetoed a transfer of 12,000 shells produced by its industry.
However, Ukraine did get some systems it was waiting for, including one of the four IRIS-T SLM batteries promised by Germany and the first NASAMS and ASPIDE systems delivered by the United States respectively. United and Spain.
Missiles – old – Hawk are also planned. As well as three or four French CROTALE NG systems, taken from the twelve currently in the Air & Space Force. For this one, there is obviously no question of separating from its eight Medium Range / Terrestrial Ground-Air batteries [SAMP/T] “Mamba”, acquired as part of a program conducted jointly with Italy, via the Eurosam consortium [Thales et MBDA, ndlr].
On the other hand, it would seem that Rome plans to send to Ukraine at least one SAMP/T battery out of the five possessed by the 4th regiment of anti-aircraft artillery “Peschiera” of the Esercito Italiano. This is indeed what an Italian government official told Reuters.
And the transalpine press echoed the same noises from the passageway. “Our country is ready to provide a missile defense system to Ukraine to help repel the Russian invasion”, reported the ANSA agency, after referring to a telephone conversation between Guido Crosetto, the Italian Minister of Defense , and Lloyd Austin, his American counterpart. And to remember that Rome can also send Skyguard-Aspide systems and Stinger missiles.
So far, the Italian authorities have been very discreet about the nature of the military aid granted to Ukraine. Since February, five shipments of arms have been decided by the government then led by Mario Draghi.
And Georgia Meloni, who has just succeeded him as President of the Council after having won the last general elections with the conservative movement “Fratelli d’Italia”, intends to keep the same line. Hence the preparation of a sixth tranche of aid. This could have been released earlier, but the “position of the Meloni government was to first clarify with the NATO allies what exactly kyiv needed and the capabilities that Rome was able to provide”, explains Start Magazine .
However, this possible shipment of a SAMP/T battery to Ukraine poses several problems. The first is that the Esercito Italiano only has five copies… And their use requires training that can be long. However, the Ukrainian army lacks time for this. Finally, at the political level, Ms. Meloni must deal with her two allies, Matteo Salvini, the head of the League, and Silvio Berlusconi, that of Forza Italia. However, they do not hide their sympathy for Vladimir Putin, the Russian president. In addition, the opposition, at least that embodied by the Five Star Movement, is reluctant to face military aid to kyiv.
In addition, the donation of at least one SAMP/T battery could have consequences for the new generation SAMP/T program, which, conducted in partnership with France, was notified in March 2021 to Eurosam, via the Organization joint armament cooperation [OCCAr].
Italy would consider sending at least one SAMP/T “Mamba” air defense system to Ukraine – Zone Militaire