Ukraine (Again) Claims It Is Almost Out of Ammo for Heavy Guns

It's claiming a lot of things these days

Retired M777

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.

  1. GMC says

    Gonna be a whole lot of heay metal lying around after the War – the smelters in Mariupol and other places will be busy. TV experts are the same around the world – entertainment – but some of them have a few good things to say , from time to time.

    I wonder what’s Zelinsky’s cut in all these billions of dollars floating around ? Last rumour says he has mansions in Miami, Israel, Tuscany and is now worth 850 million bucks. The Western and Israeli Crime Syndicate pays well.

    1. GMC says

      Speaking of Israel – ever notice that when a conflict springs up like in Ukraine , they are real quick to send ” emergency medical centers” into that country and all of a sudden, the organ harvesting business is booming.

  2. Abraham Lincoln says

    Hey pro empire I thought you said Russia was losing??!!

    To match Russia’s 50,000 rounds per day, with each round weighing 50 kilograms, some 2,500 metric tons of ammunition would have to be moved per day from Ukraine’s western border to the east. After reaching some railhead in the east they would have to be loaded on some 350 trucks to be distributed while being under fire from long ranging Russian weapons. This would have to happen each and every day.

    The U.S. has large depots of ammunition but even those would be emptied within a few month if no large scale production of new rounds would be happening. Munition production is usually done only on a small but steady scale of a few hundred rounds per week. The west would have to scale up production to allow for the supply Ukraine would need to match Russia.

    According to the Russian Ministry of Defense Ukraine’s artillery has lost 506 multiple launch rocket systems and 1,859 field artillery and mortars since the beginning of the war. The daily reported number of pieces hit have changed over time from 50+ per day to now single digits.

    The total numbers in the Russia report are too high (as they usually are in similar ‘western’ reports). They amount to more than what the Ukraine had at the start of the war. But we can safely guess that more than 90% of Ukraine’s guns and missile systems have been destroyed. Meanwhile the ‘west’ has promised the Ukraine some 200 gun and some 50 missile systems. Half of those are former soviet types. The other half are newer and need ‘western’ ammunition. They seem to arrive only in trickles.

    So lets assume that the real numbers are some 300 dead per day plus 1,200 wounded. An eighth of the wounded, 150 men, will later die from their wounds. This casualty rate has been the same each and every day since early April when Zelensky rejected further negotiations and the war entered its attrition phase. It means that over the last two months the Ukrainian army lost more than 18,000 men with an additional 70,000 wounded. Some of whom will also have died by now while others will have fully recovered. The Ukrainian army started out with some 200,000 soldiers. Later some 30 to 100,000 men of the territorial defense forces were called up and send to the frontline. There were reports that some of these untrained units have had casualty rates of 65%.

    No army can use all of its men on the front line. There are always a lot of logistic and support troop needed.

    The tooth to tail ratio (T3R) in a military can be between 1 to 10 up to 1 to 2.5. The Ukrainian frontline will probably be held by some 20% of the Ukrainian army (200,000 minus dead and wounded plus territorial forces and a 1 to 4 T3R). That makes some 40,000 men over a current frontline length of some 1,000 kilometer. Those are 40 men per kilometer or 64 per mile. That is a quite thin force. It will not take many more weeks until that line breaks decisively.

    Zelensky could shorten the contact line by half and double its defense power if he were willing to allow a retreat to the Dnieper line. But he has so far rejected any request for retreat. That seals the fate of his army.

    The Independent report quoted above speaks of ever growing desertion numbers. They are still only a trickle but will become a flood as soon as the frontline breaks down. I now expect that to happen at the end of this month.

    While the soldiers die by the hundreds per day Ukrainian officials continue with their propaganda gimmicks (machine translation):

  3. Bob dyer says

    It was stated that Ukraine was the most corrupt country in Europe just before the war. We only se the actor demanding more money so it doesn’t look like much has changed.

  4. Rebel Forever says

    It’s ok….Sleepy Joe will steal enough money from US taxpayers to purchase a few billion dollars more worth of ammo from the war profiteers to give Zelensky….all is good!

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