Ukraine (Again) Claims It Is Almost Out of Ammo for Heavy Guns
It's claiming a lot of things these days
Ukraine says it is almost out of 152mm artillery shells. That sounds plausible, but that has been floated as true since April so who knows if it’s really the case.
Ukraine is using 5,000 to 6,000 artillery rounds a day, according to Skibitsky. “We have almost used up all of our artillery ammunition and are now using 155-calibre Nato standard shells,” he said of the ammunition that is fired from artillery pieces.
“Europe is also delivering lower-calibre shells [122mm] but as Europe runs out, the amount is getting smaller.”
Ukraine also says it is consuming over 5000 shells a day. That contradicts its earlier claim in a joint report by Ukrainian and Western intelligence that Ukraine’s ammunition expenditure is 40 times smaller than Russia’s. If Ukraine is firing 5000 shells daily then Russia would have to be firing 200,000 shells daily — which is impossible. (A shell like that weighs 50 kg. Just 20 of them weigh a ton.) Both of these things can not be true at the same time.
Ukraine’s deputy head of military intelligence has said Ukraine is losing against Russia on the frontlines and is now reliant almost solely on weapons from the west to keep Russia at bay.
“This is an artillery war now,” said Vadym Skibitsky, deputy head of Ukraine’s military intelligence. The frontlines were now where the future would be decided, he told the Guardian, “and we are losing in terms of artillery”.
“Everything now depends on what [the west] gives us,” said Skibitsky. “Ukraine has one artillery piece to 10 to 15 Russian artillery pieces. Our western partners have given us about 10% of what they have.”
It increasingly sounds like everything Ukraine says is in the service of extracting more support from the West. The claim that the Russians now have 10 to 15 times more artillery pieces could be an interesting one. One that could tell us something about Ukrainian artillery losses so far. Sadly that estimate can not be trusted because the Ukrainians would be saying that whether they thought it was true or not. Just as they claim to be going through 5000 shells daily and the Russian 40X that.
The Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, praised the UK’s support for Kyiv on Friday and reiterated his call for more weapons, as the UK defence minister, Ben Wallace, made an unannounced visit to Ukraine.
“Words turn into actions. That’s the difference between Ukraine’s relationship with Great Britain and other countries,” Zelenskiy said in a video statement. “Weapons, finance, sanctions – on these three issues, Britain shows leadership.”
Skibitsky emphasised the need for the west to supply Ukraine with long-range rocket systems to destroy the Russian artillery pieces from afar. This week the Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych told the Guardian that Ukraine needed 60 multiple-rocket launchers – many more than the handful promised so far by the UK and US – to have a chance of defeating Russia.
Ukraine’s military intelligence believes that Russia can continue at its current rate without manufacturing more weapons or mobilising the population for another year.