As tensions rise in the Israel-Hamas conflict, Ukraine has experienced a decline in the delivery of essential 155mm shells, leading to concerns over ammunition shortages across the country’s front lines. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed the issue, highlighting the need for a collective struggle for survival in these difficult times.
The impact of this decline in supplies has been attributed to the redirection of U.S. stocks, originally intended for Ukraine, to Israel, according to a recent report by Axios. The report suggests that tens of thousands of rounds, equivalent to the monthly production rates of the United States, are being redirected. This diversion comes at a challenging moment for Ukraine, with intensified assaults by Russia near Avdiivka, reminiscent of the harsh fighting witnessed in Bakhmut last winter.
The United States has been a significant supplier of 155mm rounds to Ukraine, delivering over two million rounds since Russia’s invasion in February 2022. In response to the increased demand, the United States has doubled its production capacity, producing 28,000 rounds per month compared to the previous rate of 12,000.
The European Union (EU) has also provided support to Ukraine, with member states emptying their stocks and committing to supplying one million 155mm rounds between March 2023 and March 2024. However, despite these efforts, there have been frequent reports of ammunition shortages, even in critical areas like the eastern part of the country.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q: How many shells does Ukraine use per month?
A: Ukraine requires approximately 240,000 shells per month, significantly exceeding the monthly production rates of the United States.
Q: Will the EU be able to meet its goal of supplying one million rounds by March 2024?
A: German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius has expressed doubts that the EU will achieve its target due to ongoing challenges.
Q: Is the Israel-Hamas conflict the sole cause of ammunition delays to Ukraine?
A: No, in addition to the conflict, the funding pool allocated by Congress for Ukraine aid has nearly depleted, hindering Ukraine’s ability to procure necessary arms.
Q: How does the United States support Ukraine?
A: The United States primarily assists Ukraine through supplemental funding appropriations, divided into the Presidential Drawdown Authority (PDA) for replacing weapons and the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI) for purchasing new weapons. However, the USAI funds were exhausted in mid-October, while the PDA has limited remaining funds.
Despite the challenges, Ukraine continues to face Russian assaults, amplifying concerns about ammunition shortages. With limited resources, the country’s military struggles to maintain its defenses against the ongoing aggression.