Ukraine’s Security at Stake Amid Concerns over Depleting Ammunition Stockpile

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In a constant endeavor to safeguard its territory, Ukraine fires thousands of shells daily. However, Ukraine’s key military allies including the UK and NATO, express growing concern over diminishing ammunition supplies to repel the full-scale invasion from Russia.

NATO’s highest-ranking military official, Adm Rob Bauer, addressed the Warsaw Security Forum, revealing an almost depleted stockpile. A call for governments and defense manufacturers comes to increase the production pace significantly.

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Ukraine’s consumption of ammunitions mainly stems from NATO. Given years of underinvestment, NATO nations commenced the supply of weaponry to Ukraine from half-empty ammunition storerooms.

“We need large volumes. Our current ‘just-in-time, just-enough’ economy, carefully crafted in the past 30 years, has proven inadequate when warfare breaks out,” he conveyed to the assembly.

At the same forum, UK Defence Minister James Heappey also expressed his concern over depleted western military stockpiles. He admonished NATO allies to increase national defense spending to 2% of their GDP, echoing the agreement made earlier.

“Isn’t it high time to dedicate 2% of the GDP towards defense expenditure when a war is happening right in Europe?” he questioned, deeming the ‘just-in-time’ model ineffectual in preparing against imminent warfare.

Heappey insists that despite thinning stocks, the fight for Ukraine must continue. “That doesn’t mean that Putin automatically stops if we cease our support,” he remarked. ‘Continuing hand-in-hand support to Ukraine while rebuilding our own stocks is the need of the hour,’ he stressed.

He pointed out what he referred to as “the elephant in the room”; Not all alliance members fulfill the defense spending requirement, 2% of their GDP, and advocated that the number should be a minimum and not the maximum spending cap.

He also expressed a need for European powers to meet their spending commitments to maintain a balanced funding for NATO, with the U.S. increasingly looking at other directions.

Meanwhile, in a recent gathering of EU foreign ministers in Kyiv, outside the bloc, a further pledge of support was made to stand by Ukraine.

Swedish Defence Minister, Pol Jonson, stressed the necessity for Europe to organize its defense industrial base for sustained backup to Ukraine. “We’re expending our stock and our reserves considerably. In the long haul, enabling Ukrainians to secure defense equipment from European industry is crucial, ” he stated.

Challengingly, Ukraine consumes the ammunition faster than Western powers can replenish it. Despite concerted efforts to step up production, NATO and EU countries still find meeting the demand a taxing endeavor.

While commitments have been made to share expertise, joint contracts with defense manufacturers, and to subsidize production, the need remains unmet. Analysts have contrastingly pointed out Russia’s superior ability to bolster its wartime economy to refill its stockpiles. Furthermore, uncertainties loom over Kyiv’s derivative dependence on U.S ammunition due to potential changes in U.S military support under a potential Trump re-election.