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Ukraine Tells Allies Troops Are Outgunned Three-to-One by Russia

Ukraine Tells Allies Troops Are Outgunned Three-to-One by Russia
A Ukrainian serviceman arranges 155mm shells near an M777 howitzer at an undisclosed location in the Zaporizhia region, southeastern Ukraine, on 14 January 2024. (Poto: EPA-EFE / Kateryna Klochko)

Ukraine has warned its allies that it is facing a “critical” shortage of artillery shells with Russia deploying three times as much firepower on the frontlines each day. 

Defense Minister Rustem Umerov wrote to his European Union counterparts this week describing the massive numerical disadvantage his troops are facing as they try to fight off fresh Russian assaults. He said Ukraine is unable to fire more than 2,000 shells a day across a frontline that stretches for 1,500 kilometers (930 miles), according to a document seen by Bloomberg. That’s less than a third of the ammunition Russia uses.

Ukraine’s weapons shortages are growing worse by the day, Umerov added, as he urged his EU allies to do more to meet their pledge to supply a million artillery rounds. He said Ukaine needs to at least match the firepower deployed its enemy.

“The side with the most ammunition to fight usually wins,” Umerov said, according to the document.

The EU acknowledged on Wednesday that it will supply barely half of the shells it had promised by a March deadline, resolving to deliver almost 600,000 more by the end of the year.

Ukraine needs 200,000 155mm shells per month, the document says. Moscow is on track to get almost twice that amount, according to Estonian estimates, with about a million shells coming from North Korea, .

At a meeting of defense ministers on Wednesday, the EU said it will have a capacity to produce 1 million rounds per year and expects to double that capacity to 2 million in 2025. The US is also ramping up production of shells in order to help Ukraine meet its needs.

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