Ukraine’s Sovereignty Battle Depletes Western Ammunition, alarms Nato Chief

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Ukraine is launching thousands of artillery shells daily in a last-ditch effort to safeguard its sovereignty. The alarm bells are ringing as Western military powerhouses are running low on ammunition to continue aiding Ukraine in its defense against Russia’s ongoing invasion. These cautions were shared by Admiral Rob Bauer, the chief military official of Nato, during the Warsaw Security Forum.

Bauer echoed the concern that the repository was worryingly depleted, prompting governments and defense manufacturers to escalate production. He expressed concern that underinvestment by Nato countries over the decades had resulted in supplies to Ukraine from half-empty or nearly depleted ammunition stores.

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Recognizing the need for larger volumes, Bauer criticized the just-in-time approach of economy that has thrived for 30 years in liberal societies. He expressed that such a strategy does not suffice for the armed forces amid a raging war.

UK Defence Minister James Heappey, supporting Bauer’s viewpoint, called attention to the thinned out state of Western military stockpiles. He urged Nato allies to fulfill their commitment to spend 2% of their national wealth on defense. He questioned, “If not now when there is a war in Europe, then when should we concentrate spending on defence?”

Signaling that readiness for combat is paramount and the just-in-time model is not efficient, Heappey urged continuous support to Ukraine in the fight against Russia. He stressed the importance of replenishing stockpiles while continuing to aid Ukraine.

Heappey also brought to light the fact that not all alliance members are spending the minimum 2% of GDP on defense. He emphasized the need for European powers to match the US in contribution to Nato resources.

In a recent gathering in Kyiv, the first outside the EU region, EU foreign ministers pledged continuous support to Ukraine. They echoed the sentiments of Swedish Defence Minister Pol Jonson who stressed the importance for Europe to get its defense industrial base ready to sustain support to Ukraine in the long run.

The UK has given Ukraine over 300,000 rounds of artillery ammunition since the invasion initiated in February 2022 and promises to supply tens of thousands more by year-end. America’s commitment is evident in the over two million Nato standard 155mm artillery rounds it had given Ukraine in the same period.

Kyiv’s heavy reliance on US ammunition has raised concerns among Nato allies about a potential shift in US military support for Ukraine if Donald Trump returns to presidency and seeks a political settlement with Moscow.

Despite efforts to escalate production, Ukraine is using up the ammunition quicker than the Western powers can afford to replenish it. Nato and EU countries have mutually agreed on sharing expertise and entering joint contracts with defense manufacturers to subsidize production wherever feasible. Yet, they struggle to keep pace with Ukraine’s needs. Analysts note that Russia, in stark contrast, has managed to efficiently gear up its wartime economy to resupply its stockpiles.