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WP: Ukraine may be forced to aim to down only 1 in 5 missiles targeting cities due to ammunition shortage

by The Kyiv Independent news desk March 17, 2024 10:38 AM 2 min read
Aftermath of Russian missile strike on Odesa on March 15, 2024. (State Emergency Service/Oleh Kiper)
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Munitions for some of Ukraine's air defense systems may be nearly used up by the end of March, the Washington Post reported on March 15, citing unnamed Western officials.

Ukraine has tried to shoot down four of every five missiles aimed at its cities, but the shortage in munitions for its defenses may soon force Ukraine to aim for only one of every five, one of the officials told the Washington Post. The officials cited by the outlet had met with Ukrainians at the Munich Security Conference last month, the paper reported.

Ukraine is coming under increasing pressure as its munitions stocks run low, and a foreign U.S. aid bill has been blocked in Congress due to political fighting. The bill would allocate $60 billion for Ukraine and has remained stalled for months, despite pressure from the White House and other members of Congress.

A senior adviser to President Volodymyr Zelensky told the Washington Post that there was a high likelihood of significant Russian territorial gains against Ukraine by the summer in the absence of new U.S. aid.

"People don’t understand how bad the front is right now," the adviser said, as cited by the Washington Post. "The morale is low; the momentum is low. Young men are afraid they will be mobilized to die because of a lack of weapons."

In February, Russia made its first major territorial gain in nine months when Ukraine withdrew from the small industrial city of Avdiivka in Donetsk Oblast. Since then, Russia has pushed forward and captured several neighboring villages.

Both Ukrainian and Western officials have attributed the recent military setbacks in part to the ongoing impasse in Congress over U.S. aid to Ukraine.

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said on March 13 that Ukraine’s ammunition shortage caused by the delays could soon lead to a Russian breakthrough on the front lines.

As Ukraine faces shortages in munitions, Russia continues to target Ukraine's cities with deadly missile strikes. A missile strike in Odesa killed 21 people and injured at least 73 on March 15. Rescuers immediately reached the scene of the strike and were hit during rescue operations after Russia struck the site again.

More than 10,500 civilians have been killed since 2022, and an average of 163 civilians were killed each month in 2023, according to UN estimates released last month. At least 587 children are among the dead. The U.N. stressed that this number includes deaths verified by UN methodology and that actual figures are likely to be much higher.

‘Our reserves will run out:’ Ukrainian artillery sounds alarm on Western shell shortage
Hiding beneath sparse winter cover in a crude, muddy ditch, a great steel monster lies in wait for an opportunity to attack. Adorned on either side with painted plus signs, the gun’s huge barrel looks up at the sky over the Bakhmut front line, across which thousands
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