Report: Italian Weapons Supplied to Ukraine Are ‘Not Battle Ready’

Ukrainian paratroopers fire an L119 howitzer towards Russian positions at a front line in

Weapons provided to Ukraine from the NATO country of Italy are reportedly not battle-ready, according to Kyiv sources speaking to the Financial Times.

The effectiveness of Europe’s military hardware has been called into question again after every one of the 20 howitzer artillery guns supplied to Ukraine from Rome was deemed not to be battle ready at the time they were supplied, a source inside the Ukrainian defence ministry told the Financial Times.

This follows claims from Russian sources reported earlier this month by Newsweek magazine that the Leopard 2 main battle tanks, which had allegedly been “kept unused at warehouses for years”, were deemed unfit for purpose on the battlefield in Ukraine and were in desperate need of repair and refurbishment.

The reports perhaps explain the persistent demands from the Zelensky government for Washington to supply them with American-made military hardware, such as long-range precision-guided missiles and F-16 fighter jets, both of which the U.S. has apparently been hesitant to hand over to the Ukrainians.

For the government of Giorgia Meloni, the reports of ineffective Italian weaponry will likely come as an embarrassment, given that she has spent considerable political capital domestically to support the war effort against Russia.

In order to have the weapons shipments approved in the first place, Meloni had to manoeuvre past objections from both of her coalition partners, former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who has had a longstanding friendship with Russia’s Vladimir Putin, as well as her deputy PM Matteo Salvini, who has also questioned if Western efforts in the region were doing more harm to the people of Italy than Moscow.

The otherwise populist-oriented government of Meloni has also bucked public opinion, with a February poll finding that a plurality of Italians, 45 per cent, were opposed to sending weapons to Ukraine, compared to 34 per cent in support. Belying the potential political pitfalls, even 47 per cent of Meloni’s Brother’s of Italy said that they were against military aid packages to Ukraine.

Nevertheless, Meloni has continued to double down on her support for Zelensky and the government in Kyiv, arguing this week that the European Union should speed up its accession process to allow Ukraine to join the bloc in an accelerated time frame as compensation for the country supposedly defending Europe from Russian aggression.

Ukraine “is an outpost for the security of the European continent,” Meloni said in a press conference with Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal in Rome on Wednesday. “The smartest way to thank Ukrainians for what they are doing is to accelerate the possibility for them to become part of the European institutions.”

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka


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