Ukrainian front-line units have resorted to rationing artillery shells due to a halt in US supplies and the European Union's inability to deliver on its promises, according to a Financial Times report on Friday.
Kyiv facing “Very important” Western caliber artillery ammunition is in short supply, unnamed EU and US officials told the UK-based outlet. One American described him as a “A hole in the hose.”
He added: “It is a desperate situation on the front lines for the Ukrainians, and it is much worse than they are advertising.” A senior NATO diplomat told FT.
The newspaper said that it had seen a letter from Ukrainian Defense Minister Rustam Omerov to European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, in which he expressed his regret that the shortage was getting worse day by day.
“The old truism still holds true: the side with the most ammunition to fight usually wins.” “Umarov wrote “Absolute minimum critical daily requirements” He added that Ukraine was receiving 6,000 shells per day, but its army was able to fire about a third of that number.
A Pentagon official described the situation as… 'A very bleak scenario' Noting that without Congress approving additional aid, the United States cannot send more ammunition from its own stockpiles, or order new rounds from industry.
The White House had combined a $60 billion aid package for Ukraine with funding for Israel and the US-Mexico border, which ended up getting stuck in Congress due to domestic political concerns. The foreign aid portion of the bill was finally introduced in the Senate earlier this week.
However, the Pentagon's stockpiles of 155mm ammunition had run out by last summer, prompting President Joe Biden to send some cluster munitions to the Ukrainians instead — and upsetting several NATO allies who banned their use.
Meanwhile, the European Union failed to fulfill its pledge to send 1 million rounds to Ukraine by March 2024, and was able to deliver less than half that number.
It will not be easy for the Europeans to replace the United States. “This is not completely realistic.” A senior EU diplomat told the Financial Times:
Ukraine has become completely dependent on the United States and its allies for ammunition, weapons, equipment, and even the salaries of government employees. According to Russian estimates, the West has collectively pumped more than $200 billion into Kiev since February 2022.