MYKOLAIV (Ukraine), May 24 ― Ukrainian forces are battering Russian positions with newly-provided Western artillery systems, according to a Ukrainian military spokesman, who hailed the effectiveness of the new arms that were making Moscow troops “sad”.
Fighting continues to rage across large chunks of eastern and southern Ukraine with much of the battles settling into long-range artillery clashes between the Ukrainian and Russian militaries.
For much of the war Ukraine has relied on their own Soviet-era howitzers but in recent weeks state of the art artillery systems from friendly nations, including the United States's M777, have made its way to the frontline.
Washington and European countries have poured billions of dollars of arms into Ukraine to help the country's outgunned forces beat back the better-armed Russian invaders.
After begging for heavier, long-range weapons, the Ukrainian military says the newly provided artillery systems are already proving useful on the battlefield.
“On behalf of the Ukrainian artillery men shooting the M777, it is like switching from a steam-operated train to an electric car,” Captain Lieutenant Dmytro Pletenchuk, from the Mykolaiv regional military administration, told AFP during a recent interview.
Plentenchuk did not divulge where the long-range guns were being used on the front.
“These systems are already in use by the Ukrainian Armed Forces and they are being used very successfully,” added Pletenchuk.
“Our enemies are very sad about that, as well as about the high effectiveness of these artillery pieces,” said Pletenchuk.
Much like the clashes in the east, the fighting along the southern front between Ukrainian-controlled Mykolaiv and Russian forces to the east of the port city has largely evolved into brutal, long-range artillery duels, according to the military spokesman.
“Every day and night,” said Pletenchuk of the ongoing barrages exchanged by the two sides.
The spokesman said the frontline near the city had largely stabilised after Russian forces tried to capture Mykolaiv during the early weeks of the war.
The southern city of Mykolaiv remains a strategic shield blocking the road to Odessa, Ukraine's biggest port.
“We will hold Mykolaiv,” said Pletenchuk. “However let me reiterate, the availability of Western weapons at any part of the frontline considerably strengthens our tactical and strategic position,” he added. ― AFP