Ukraine suffering severe frontline ammo shortages – El Pais
Ukrainian troops are facing serious ammunition shortages, newspaper El Pais has reported. The Spanish daily also pointed out that Russia has been ramping up its own arms production of late, apparently outperforming Kiev’s Western backers.
In an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour published on Wednesday, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba confirmed that Kiev’s military was “rapidly burning through” Western arms and ammunition supplied earlier in the conflict. The country’s top diplomat urged the West to “expedite the decisions that are pending” on further deliveries.
In its article on Thursday, El Pais quoted Aleksandr, a sergeant from the ‘47’ mechanized brigade fighting in the city of Avdeevka, north of Donetsk, as complaining that Kiev’s troops are on an ammunition diet, with arsenals depleted.
The source told Spanish reporters that he and his comrades were having to fight with what they “have available, not always with what is the most suitable to attain the goal.”
In the meantime, Russia has considerably stepped up its arms manufacturing capacities despite Western sanctions, the media outlet noted. It relayed the observation of a Ukrainian soldier from the 47th Brigade, that, although Russian weapons may not be the best of their kind, Moscow has no shortage of them on the front line.
Appearing on Russian TV last Friday, Konstantin Gavrilov, the head of Russia’s delegation at the Vienna talks on military security and arms control, claimed that Kiev’s stocks of weapons, as well as those of NATO and the US, were already “empty.” The diplomat added that he did not expect any “spikes” in arms deliveries by Ukraine’s Western backers in the foreseeable future.
“You see what’s happening on the battlefield – the Ukrainians are already responding to ten or 20 of our shells with just a few,” Gavrilov summarized.
Earlier in December, the Washington Post reported that Kiev was experiencing an acute dearth of ammunition.
While the US has already shelled out nearly $45 billion in direct military assistance to Ukraine since the conflict broke out in February 2022, President Joe Biden’s latest $61-billion defense aid package has been left hanging in limbo for weeks, amid political bickering in Congress between the Democrats and Republicans. The latter insist they will unblock the new tranche for Kiev only if the Democrats agree to tighten border security on the US’ southern frontier.
In the EU, Hungary recently vetoed the bloc’s planned four-year, €50 billion ($55 billion) aid package for Kiev.