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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 21 February 2024

Kyiv boosts ammunition production as it pursues counteroffensive war with Russia

Ukraine faces dwindling stockpiles

Lara Jakes New York Published 04.08.23, 10:40 AM
A picture taken from a social media video shows Ukrainian soldiers taking cover in a wooded area near Bakhmut, Ukraine

A picture taken from a social media video shows Ukrainian soldiers taking cover in a wooded area near Bakhmut, Ukraine 3rd Assault Brigade/Ukrainian Armed Forces Press Service via Reuters

Ukraine’s need for ammunition has only grown more urgent as it pursues a counteroffensive in what is now the 18th month of war with Russia.

The US and its allies have sent millions of rounds of ammunition to Ukraine since Russia’s full-scale invasion began early last year. But faced with dwindling stockpiles and a western weapons industry that has struggled to keep pace with the demand, officials in Ukraine and across the Biden administration, Nato and the EU are searching for new sources of ammunition to quickly deliver.

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One is in Ukraine itself. The country’s nascent weapons industry produced twice as many mortars and artillery rounds last month as it did for all of 2022, a top government official said on Wednesday, with the counteroffensive against Russia hinging on whether the military will have enough ammunition to keep fighting.

Ukraine’s minister for strategic industries, Alexander Kamyshin, declined, on security grounds, to otherwise quantify or provide details of the ammunition manufactured in July. He described the amount only as “an important input to the counteroffensive”.

“I am sure the defence industry will become the backbone of security during the wartime,” he said, predicting that “we will be the locomotive for economic revival after the war is over.” “But I don’t focus much on that now,” he said. “For me, it’s important to bring more armaments to my army to force Russians out.”

It is not clear how much ammunition Ukraine produced before the war began. For competitive reasons, weapons manufacturers generally do not disclose how many systems or how much ammunition they produce.

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