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US military veterans training Ukrainian frontline troops say NATO’s artillery and rocket launchers are essential for Ukraine to beat Russia

Ukrainian soldiers man a howitzer during artillery drills in northeastern Ukraine’s Kharkiv Region.

Vyacheslav Madiyevskyy/ Ukrinform/Future Publishing via Getty Images

  • US military veterans training Ukrainian soldiers said Ukraine needs NATO weapons to beat Russia.
  • They said Ukrainian forces might be overwhelmed without more modern, long-range weaponry. 
  • “It’s a bit of a slugfest,” Martin Wetterauer, a Marine veteran, said of the war.

A group of US military veterans currently training Ukrainian soldiers said Ukraine needs more NATO weapons to win its war with Russia.

Officers in the Mozart Group told Newsweek that modern, long-range artillery would help Ukrainian forces fend off the Russian offensive.

The Mozart Group is a cadre of US military veterans helping train Ukrainian soldiers. Established at the start of the Ukraine war by Andrew Milburn, a Marine veteran, the group has been described as the Western counterpoint to Putin’s elite Wagner Group. 

“It’s a bit of a slugfest,” Martin Wetterauer, a Marine veteran and the Mozart Group’s chief operations officer, told Newsweek from the organization’s outpost in Zaporizhzhia.

Wetterauer told the outlet that the Ukrainians were under heavy fire from Russian artillery and said that NATO’s artillery systems and aircraft would be essential to help eliminate Russian defense lines in the Donbas region.

Steve K., an operations manager in the group who declined to give Newsweek his full name, agreed with Wetterauer and highlighted the US-made Multiple Launch Rocket System and the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System as being vital tools for the Ukrainian war effort.

“They need the artillery, they need rounds,” Steve K. told the outlet. “If we do not continue with that supply, they won’t be able to hold them back.” 

Per Newsweek, Wetterauer added that the Ukrainians do not underestimate the Russians’ capabilities and expressed confidence in their chances of winning if they received the right equipment.

“If we can increase their skill set, then ultimately over time hopefully they’ll get better and more advanced weapon systems,” Wetterauer said, per the outlet. “With the fighting spirit that they have, there’s no doubt they will turn this war. It’s just going to take a while.”

Ukraine’s forces are currently engaged in a critical fight in the Donbas region, which has come under heavy artillery fire from Russian troops. In June, Ukraine estimated that Russia has 10 to 15 times more artillery than its forces, appealing to the West to send more weapons. 

This week, reports emerged that cases of desertion are growing among Ukrainian forces after they suffered significant losses. A senior US official also told The Washington Post this week that Russia will likely gain control of eastern Ukraine within weeks, after doubling down on its military efforts in the Donbas.

However, intelligence from the UK suggests that Russia may soon struggle to produce enough military equipment to fuel a prolonged conflict in Ukraine.

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