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.
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.