Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Tuesday, 28 June 2022
Joint Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Defence
Situation in Ukraine: Engagement with Ukrainian Committee on Foreign Affairs and Inter-Parliamentary Co-operation
Mr. Oleksandr Merezhko:
I thank you. Our top priority right now to survive is weapons. We need heavy weapons, especially multiple launch rocket systems, MLRS, high mobility artillery rocket systems, HIMARS, and long-range artillery. It is crucial because we are outgunned and outnumbered by Russia, which uses heavy artillery. Russia uses jets first, then heavy shelling, bombardments by artillery, then mortars, then tanks and only after that does it use infantry.
The Russian technique is to completely destroy everything in front of their troops by using artillery and then they move in. They move in gradually, sometimes they might move 1 km or 2 km but it is a tactic of total destruction. This is also about our casualties, of course. We need to help our soldiers to survive and our civilians, who are also being targeted. This is why we desperately need heavy weaponry. I understand there are countries which might not have what we need but we appreciate every effort, including financial support, which allows us to obtain heavy weaponry. As far as I know, we have only 10% of what we need right now. We need to reach parity in terms of heavy weaponry with Russia. Otherwise, we will have many casualties.
Grain is another serious problem because Russia is blackmailing the world.
It is trying to take hostage the whole Continent and the many countries that depend on food, grain and wheat produced in Ukraine. As we know, Ukraine is one of the bread baskets of the world. Russia is doing this deliberately. It is deliberately blockading our ports and is not allowing our grain to be exported. Russia and Putin understand that their approach allows them to blackmail the whole world and to demand the lifting of sanctions. On the other hand, Russia is using that approach to economically destroy Ukraine. What is the way out of this difficult situation? I do not know right now. I know that we are considering several options. One is de-blockading our ports and escorting-----