(NewsNation) — As the one-year anniversary of the Russia-Ukraine war approaches, Ukrainian leaders are asking for more support as Russia prepares for more attacks.
Russia is stepping up its attacks in Ukraine, increasing heavy shelling, rocket fire and missile strikes across several parts of the country.
The worst of it has been seen in the eastern city of Bakhmut, where NewsNation’s Chris Cuomo was on the ground this week
Nearly a year into the war, Ukraine is still holding off Russian forces with the help of the U.S. and other allies.
In Belgium on Wednesday, NATO defense ministers voiced hope that the latest round of support would prove pivotal in the war.
“Our goal is to make sure that we give Ukraine additional capabilities so they can not only be marginally successful, they can be decisive on the battlefield in their upcoming offensive,” said U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.
The U.S is considering another large shipment of weapons to Ukraine, this one of seized weapons meant for Russian troops.
In recent months, U.S. officials have seized shipments of weapons from smugglers off the coast of Yemen. The weapons are suspected to be Iranian in origin, and now the U.S. may turn those over to Ukrainian troops. That could mean a boost of thousands of weapons and millions of rounds of ammunition.
In the meantime, U.S. leaders are also training Ukrainian troops to go through ammunition less quickly, with a focus on troop movements over artillery barrages.
This comes as Russia has deployed the majority of its military in the fight in Ukraine but has still failed to make headway after nearly a year. What President Vladimir Putin likely envisioned as a quick, decisive victory has become a long slog, with Ukrainians holding and retaking ground as Putin tries to push forward.
“We now estimate 97 percent of the Russian army, the whole Russian army, is in Ukraine,” said British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace.
Western intelligence has shown Russia amassing aircraft near the border with Ukraine, amplifying Ukraine’s call for jets of their own.
“That’s why we need more sophisticated, more modern aircraft to stop them,” said Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleskii Reznikov.
Wednesday night, Vice President Kamala Harris is bound for Germany ahead of a crucial conference of western allies, where the future of Ukraine will be front and center.
President Joe Biden is also preparing to visit Poland to mark the one-year anniversary of the Russian invasion, and Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has left an open invitation for Biden to visit Ukraine himself.