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Bloomberg: Umerov says Ukraine has increasingly 'critical' shortage of artillery shells

by Nate Ostiller and The Kyiv Independent news desk February 1, 2024 10:25 AM 2 min read
A Ukrainian soldier prepares 155mm artillery shells in his fighting position in Donetsk Oblast on Aug. 6, 2023. Photo for illustrative purposes. (Diego Herrera Carcedo/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
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Ukraine is being confronted with a "critical" shortage of artillery shells, reported Bloomberg on Jan. 31, according to a document Defense Minister Rustem Umerov sent to Ukraine's European allies seen by Bloomberg. Russia is currently able to fire three times more shells per day, Umerov said.

Foreign defense deliveries have begun to run dry as $61 billion in aid from the U.S. remains stuck in Congress due to political infighting, and Hungary blocked a $54 billion Ukraine aid package from the EU in December 2023. The EU is set to meet on Feb. 1 to vote on the package again.

Ukrainian officials and foreign allies have acknowledged that the impasse on aid has impacted Ukraine's battlefield capabilities.

Umerov said that Ukraine is currently unable to fire more than 2,000 shells per day, around a third of Russia's average daily shell usage, according to Bloomberg.

The EU promised to deliver Ukraine 1 million shells by March 2024 but is far behind the target and unlikely to reach it within the next month.

EU Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton said on Jan. 20 that the EU will be able to produce around 1.3 to 1.4 million shells by the end of 2024 and will continue to increase production "significantly" next year.

At the same time, Russia has already increased its military production capacity and is likely already able to produce 1 million shells a year, said Martin Herem, the commander of the Estonian Defense Forces, in January.

Herem added that intelligence suggests Russia has the capacity to produce "many times more."

Russia is also receiving new supplies of ammunition from abroad, with North Korea becoming Russia's largest arms supplier, according to Ukraine.

The country has supplied Russia with around one million rounds of ammunition, mainly consisting of 122mm and 152mm artillery shells, Vadym Skibitskyi, a representative of Ukraine's military intelligence, said on Jan. 15.

Ukraine must be able to at least match Russia's artillery output, Umerov said.

"The side with the most ammunition to fight usually wins," he wrote.

Russia’s use of North Korean ballistic missiles not a sign of Moscow’s depleted domestic capacity
Russia’s missile campaign against Ukraine’s cities and infrastructure is no longer limited by the rate of domestic production as North Korea becomes its top weapons supplier. Pyongyang has allegedly sent Moscow more than 1 million artillery rounds and the mass strikes on Dec. 30 and Jan. 2 provided
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