Alarm in NATO for the depletion of ammunition reserves because of the military aid sent to Ukraine to defend against Russia’s war of aggression. A pressing problem that figures prominently on the agenda of the meeting of allied defense ministers that begins this Tuesday in Brussels.
“The war in Ukraine is consuming an enormous amount of ammunition and depleting allied reserves,” the NATO Secretary General has warned. Jens Stoltenberg. The current rate of ammunition use in Ukraine is “many times greater” than the rate of production of the allied countries, which is putting “under pressure” the defense industries.
For example, the lead time for large caliber ammunition has been increased from 12 to 28 months. In other words, orders placed today will only be delivered in two and a half years. Hence, Stoltenberg calls on all governments to “increase production and invest in our productive capacity.”
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“This is essential to ensure that we can continue to support Ukraine while protecting every last inch of allied territory,” the Secretary General stressed.
NATO has just completed a extraordinary study on ammunition reserves and plans to increase replacement targets through its Defense Planning Process.
“The good news is that several allies, including the United States and France, have already signed new multi-year contracts with the defense industryallowing them to invest in greater production capacity”, highlighted Stoltenberg, who hopes that the rest of the partners will follow this example.
For the rest, the meeting of NATO Defense Ministers (which will be attended by their Ukrainian counterpart, Oleksii Reznikov) will serve to reaffirm their long-term support for kyiv. “Almost a year after the invasion, President Putin is not preparing for peace, but is launching new offensives. That is why we must continue to provide Ukraine with what it needs to win and achieve a just and sustainable peace,” said the Secretary General.
“It is clear that we are in a logistics race. Key capabilities such as ammunition, fuel and spare parts they must reach Ukraine before Russia can seize the initiative on the battlefield. Speed will save lives. If Putin wins in Ukraine, the message to him and other authoritarian regimes is that the use of force pays off. That would make the world more dangerous and all of us more vulnerable,” Stoltenberg said.
NATO Defense Ministers will also discuss the shipment to Ukraine of combat aircraft, as claimed by the country’s president, Volodimir Zelensky. The Secretary General has reiterated, however, that the red line remains that the Atlantic Alliance should not be part of the conflict.
On Wednesday, the allies will take steps to further strengthen their deterrence and defense position. NATO already has under its command a total of 40,000 troops on his eastern flank and since the outbreak of the war it has doubled its number of battalions, from four to eight. What is at stake now is ensuring the right number of forces in the long term.
Finally, the NATO Defense Ministers will address how to improve the protection of underwater infrastructure, such as cables or pipelines.