Ukraine Is Using Ammo Faster Than The US, Allies Are Producing It, NATO Chief Warns

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Micaela Burrow Investigative Reporter, Defense
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North American Treaty Organization (NATO) Secretary Jens Stoltenberg warned Monday that Ukraine’s consumption of ammunition is outpacing the rate at which the U.S. and allies can produce enough to continue supporting Ukraine’s resistance to Russian forces.

Russia is deploying thousands of additional troops in Ukraine in support of a new offensive that NATO countries expected to see as spring arrives, Stoltenberg said Monday, according to a transcript. Russia’s attacks could further strain Western defense industries, placing NATO and Russia in a “race of logistics” to rearm Ukraine before the Russians can achieve significant advances, Stoltenberg added.

“The war in Ukraine is consuming an enormous amount of munitions, and depleting Allied stockpiles,” Stoltenberg said, announcing that NATO had completed a thorough review of its weapons inventories. For example, wait times for orders of large caliber munitions have increased from an average of 12 months to 28 months, he said. (RELATED: US Provides Guidance To Ukraine For Precision Missile Targeting: REPORT)

“The current rate of Ukraine’s ammunition expenditure is many times higher than our current rate of production,” he added.

Ukraine consumes upwards of 5,000 rounds per day and possibly as many as 7,000. Russian consumption is roughly four times that, Financial Times reported.

Russia concentrated focus on Bakhmut and surrounding areas in eastern Ukraine over the winter, and on Monday Russian forces launched a barrage of artillery at the city, Reuters reported. Capturing Bakhmut could potentially provide a springboard from which to capture the breakaway Donetsk region, which has so far escaped complete Russian military control.

Mercenary groups, including the Wagner private military company, have recruited ex-convicts while Russia has employed poorly trained conscripts, feeding troops to the front lines and accepting heavy casualties over the Bakhmut siege, according to Reuters and The New York Times.

“Key capabilities like ammunition, fuel, and spare parts must reach Ukraine before Russia can seize the initiative on the battlefield,” Stoltenberg said. “Speed will save lives.”

The West has options for increasing production, but short-term methods like extending working shifts and keeping manufacturing facilities open longer will not be enough, Stoltenberg said. Several NATO countries, including the U.S., have implemented multi-year procurement plans that allow governments to guarantee longer term contracts for defense companies, headded.

“But really to have a significant increase, they need to invest and build new plans. And we see a combination both of utilizing existing capacity more and also by making decisions to invest in increased capacity,” Stoltenberg said.

The West’s ability to replenish Ukraine’s stockpiles will be critical to the country’s ability to defend against Russia’s attempt to regain the upper hand in the war, a senior western intelligence official told the FT.

NATO defense ministers, including Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, will meet Tuesday to discuss ongoing efforts to aid Ukraine.

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