(NEW YORK) — In a rare admission, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has gone public about the reduction in the supply of artillery shells to Ukraine, telling reporters that deliveries of the munitions have “really slowed down.”
The 155mm artillery shells are arguably the most important munition for Ukraine in its war with Russia.. Ukraine has always been outmatched by Russia’s superior artillery firepower, however this imbalance, which is key on the battlefield, is set to get worse.
In a briefing on Thursday, Western officials agreed with an estimate, attributed to Ukrainian officials, that Russia currently produces around a million artillery shells a day.
U.S. arms companies are ramping up production. However, according to The Economist, U.S. output of 155 mm shells in 2025 “is likely to be lower than that of Russia in 2024.”
European efforts to try and address the problem also appear to be falling short.
The German Defense Minister earlier this week warned that the European Union would fail to meet its pledge of providing a million rounds to Ukraine by March 2024.
Any further reduction of ammunition supplies to Ukrainian forces would limit Ukrainian troops’ ability to mount offensive operations as well as increase pressure on areas of the frontline where Russia is on the offensive.
Western officials on Thursday also conceded they were “concerned” about the supply of artillery ammunition to Ukraine. The officials claimed they had “always been concerned,” but it was a change in tone on the topic, compared to previous briefings.
President Zelenskyy, in comments to journalists Thursday said “warehouses are empty” in allied nations which have been supplying Ukraine with the shells.
Israel’s war in Gaza and tensions on its northern border with Lebanon have also put pressure on U.S. stocks, with some supplies of artillery shells, which were designated for Ukraine in recent weeks, being diverted to Israel.
In a reference to the increased pressure on production and supply of the munitions, Zelenskyy said “everyone is fighting” for stockpiles.
It is true that, for months, Ukrainian officials have repeatedly warned that their ability to fire artillery shells has always been way lower than their Russian enemy.
And as the war has dragged on, the supply of 155mm shells to Ukraine inevitably has come under greater pressure, with the U.S. calling on other allies, namely South Korea to help out.
However, Zelenskyy’s warning comes amid the row in Congress over continuing funding for the war in Ukraine.
If the Biden Administration cannot keep military aid flowing to Ukraine, the situation could get a lot worse.
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