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17 Nov, 2023 08:53

Israel-Hamas war creating shell hunger for Ukraine – Zelensky

The president has attributed the scarcity of 155mm rounds to the conflict between Israel and Hamas
Israel-Hamas war creating shell hunger for Ukraine – Zelensky

Ukraine has received fewer artillery rounds since Israel launched its military operation against Hamas, President Vladimir Zelensky has claimed. He said that competition for munitions between countries has intensified, particularly for 155mm shells.

Earlier this week, Bloomberg reported that the Pentagon had ramped up arms deliveries to Israel amid its campaign in Gaza. Elsewhere, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell also recently warned Kiev that member states could no longer provide weapons from existing stockpiles.

Speaking to reporters in Kiev on Thursday, Zelensky noted that “our deliveries have decreased” and “really slowed down,” as quoted by AFP.

It’s not like the US said: we don’t give Ukraine any. No. It’s just that everyone is fighting for [stockpiles] themselves,” the Ukrainian leader clarified.

According to Zelensky, the situation has been aggravated because “now the warehouses are empty, or there is a legal minimum that a particular state cannot give you.

Bloomberg reported on Wednesday, citing an internal Defense Department list dated late October, that Washington had increased defense aid to Israel without publicly announcing the move.

Among the weapons being provided from the Pentagon’s own stocks are 57,000 155mm high explosive artillery shells, the media outlet claimed.

Speaking to reporters ahead of an EU Foreign Affairs Council meeting on Tuesday, Borrell said the bloc had already supplied more than 300,000 artillery rounds to Ukraine, depleting existing stockpiles. The foreign policy chief added that the bloc would now have to switch to domestically produced munitions to satisfy Kiev’s demands.

His message was echoed by German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius, who warned that Brussels would likely not be able to make good on its pledge to provide Ukraine with 1 million artillery rounds by next March. He attributed the supposed shortfall to insufficient production capacities in Europe.

With its months-long summer counteroffensive having failed to yield any significant territorial gains, Ukraine has lately doubled down on requests for yet more weapons and ammunition from its Western backers.

Russia has repeatedly stated that no amount of defense aid provided to Kiev can change the course of the conflict, warning that continued weapons supplies only serve to raise the risk of direct confrontation between NATO and Moscow.

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