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Running Low on Ammunition to Aid Ukraine: the bottom of the barrel is visible

Western armed forces are depleting their armaments, with scant ammunition left to assist Ukraine, as cautioned by NATO and the UK. “We’re running low on resources, and the situation is far from comforting,” they remark.

“We’re supplying weapon systems to Ukraine, which is commendable, including ammunition, but our reserves are nearly exhausted. The bottom of the barrel is now becoming visible,” cautioned NATO Admiral Rob Bauer at the Warsaw Security Forum.

Since February 2022, NATO member countries have provided significant equipment and ammunition to Ukraine, contributing to an increased demand for replenishing their own stocks. However, according to Bauer, the defence industry has not ramped up production. The heightened demand has also led to elevated prices, and increased defence expenditures do not necessarily translate to greater production or sales, but perhaps less for more money. Bauer foresees NATO countries gradually emptying their semi-filled supply rooms in 2022.

James Heappey, shares this concern, emphasizing the importance of continuing aid to Kyiv despite the scarce supplies. He also stresses the need for Western nations to bolster their ammunition production capacity, stating, “We must keep supporting Ukraine in its fight today, tomorrow, and beyond. This entails consistently providing weapons and ammunition while restocking our own supplies.”

Ukrainian troops typically fire between 2,000 and 3,000 artillery shells daily at Russian forces, according to a U.S. defense official cited by CNN. In July, the Pentagon revealed that the United States had already delivered over two million artillery shells to Ukraine.

“The United States and its allies are sending a variety of ammunition to Ukraine, but production and delivery are not keeping pace with the urgent demand,” noted Atlantic Council analyst Thomas Warrick. “While the Ukrainian armed forces have demonstrated flexibility and adaptability, they must have a sufficient supply of ammunition and weapons,” he emphasized.

The uncertainty surrounding U.S. support for Ukraine has raised alarms among Western allies. Events in Washington could potentially jeopardize the supply of aid and Ukraine’s position on the battlefield.

President Joe Biden has sought to reassure allies regarding U.S. support for Ukraine following a last-minute agreement on an emergency budget in Washington. The White House disclosed that Biden convened a conference call to coordinate further assistance.

Paolo Sorbello

Paolo Sorbello is a journalist and researcher. He is a PhD candidate at the University of Glasgow, studying state-business relations in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia. He is also the Business News Editor of the weekly newspaper The Conway Bulletin.

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