Defense Minister Rustem Umerov, in a letter to his European Union (EU) counterparts, emphasized the significant numerical disadvantage his forces are confronting amid Russia's threefold increase in daily firepower along the extensive frontlines.
The document, seen by Bloomberg, noted that Ukraine can only deploy around 2,000 shells daily, less than one-third of Russia's ammunition usage. (Related: German reporter: Frontline situation is becoming increasingly disastrous for Ukraine.)
Umerov urgently appealed to EU allies to fulfill their commitment to supply one million artillery rounds, stressing that it is imperative for Ukraine to match its adversary's firepower. He underscored the pivotal role of ammunition in determining the outcome of battles, emphasizing that the side with superior firepower tends to prevail.
Acknowledging the severity of Ukraine's weapons shortages, Umerov implored EU allies to escalate their support.
However, the EU conceded on Wednesday, Jan. 31, that it would only deliver approximately half of the pledged shells by the March deadline, committing to provide an additional 600,000 rounds by year-end.
The document revealed that Ukraine's monthly requirement of 200,000 155mm shells, while estimates from Estonia indicated that Moscow is poised to acquire nearly double that amount, including supplies from North Korea.
In response, the EU announced plans to enhance its annual shell production capacity to one million rounds, with a projection to double it to two million by 2025.
The United States is also intensifying its efforts to assist Ukraine in meeting its pressing artillery needs.
As early as December, Ukrainian forces on the front lines were contending with a severe shortage of artillery shells, leading some units to curtail planned offensives and raising concerns about the sustainability of Kyiv's defense against ongoing Russian attacks.
The scarcity of ammunition has added to the heightened anxiety in the Ukrainian capital, particularly as U.S. and European aid is facing delays, compounded by the onset of winter conditions.
Soldiers have reported strict limits on the number of shells allocated for each target, significantly diminishing their operational capacity. A member of the 128th Mountain Assault Brigade pointed out the exhaustion among troops, emphasizing that while motivation remains high, numerical advantages and weaponry are deteriorating.
The constrained ammunition supply has prompted a shift in military tactics, with a focus on defense and a reevaluation of operational tasks. Artem, a gunner in the 148th Artillery Brigade, highlighted a dramatic reduction in shell usage, indicating a potential inability to suppress advancing forces.
Ukraine has been grappling with insufficient shell supplies since the beginning of Russia's special military operation in February 2022, exacerbating challenges on the front lines.
President Volodymyr Zelensky confirmed the existing shortage during a year-end news conference. The delays in foreign aid, including the stalling of a proposed $60 billion aid package by the U.S., have added hurdles amid ongoing Russian offensives.
Soldiers stationed at the front have not observed a corresponding shortage of artillery shells on the Russian side, indicating Moscow's sustained military production and effective subversion of sanctions.
The lack of international support for Ukraine has created additional obstacles ahead of the winter holidays, with Russia continuing efforts to advance on multiple fronts and target Ukrainian cities.
Despite Ukraine's dependency on external aid, the country is making efforts to enhance domestic weapons manufacturing. Plans include producing 1 million first-person-view drones and various mid- and long-range weapons.
While external support remains crucial, Ukraine recognizes the need to bolster its self-reliance amid challenges posed by the ongoing conflict.
The urgency of the situation highlights the complex dynamics on the ground and the critical importance of timely and sufficient aid to sustain Ukraine's defense efforts.
Watch Ukraine seeks PR wins as West admits war may be lost.
This video is from the channel The Prisoner on Brighteon.com.