- A Ukrainian soldier says he stopped shelling small Russian units, per The Times of London.
- Sergeant Taras “Fizruk” told the newspaper his unit is running out of US-made artillery shells.
- The US and NATO have struggled to keep pace with Ukraine’s use of ammunition.
A Ukrainian soldier said he stopped shelling small Russian units because his brigade was running out of US-provided artillery ammunition, per The Times of London.
“When it’s two or three soldiers, I’m not shooting any more; only when it’s a critical situation, say, ten guys close to our infantry, we will work,” Sergeant Taras “Fizruk” told the newspaper.
The 31-year-old mortar gunner said that he and his comrades from the 47th Mechanized Brigade “had ten times more ammunition over the summer.” per the newspaper.
“American rounds come in batches of almost identical weights, which makes it easier to correct fire, with very few duds. Now we have shells from all over the world with different qualities, and we only get 15 for three days. Last week, we got a batch full of duds.”
The lack of shells, Fizruk said, has hampered his unit’s control over the northern flank of Avdviivka in eastern Ukraine and their ability to shoot at Russian troops.
“We should be controlling our sector from 4km away, so we can kill a few hundred Russian soldiers before they get to our infantry, and we only take a few wounded,” he told the newspaper, adding: “But without ammunition, we can’t.”
Western supplies are at the ‘bottom of the barrel’
The US and NATO allies have struggled to keep up with Ukraine’s demands for artillery shells and ammunition, with Western ammunition stockpiles depleting.
And Western supplies are now at the “bottom of the barrel,” Admiral Rob Bauer of the Netherlands, who chairs NATO’s Military Committee, said at a Warsaw Security Forum meeting in October.
“We need large volumes. The just-in-time, just-enough economy we built together in 30 years in our liberal economies is fine for a lot of things — but not the armed forces when there is a war ongoing,” he said, per the BBC.
The issue has been compounded by Republicans in Congress, who are threatening to withhold crucial aid to Ukraine, including ammunition, a defining element in frontline combat.
Andriy Yermak, the head of Ukraine’s presidential office, said that Congress’ delay in providing aid to Ukraine would “very likely make it impossible to continue liberating territory and create a high risk of losing the war,” per The New Voice of Ukraine.
Newly committed aid to Ukraine reached a “new low” between August and October, with a 90% drop compared to the same period in 2022, according to a report compiled by the Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
The Kiel Institute, which has tracked aid promised and sent to Ukraine, said in an update on Thursday that while the new US aid package was delayed to next year, the EU’s promise to supply one million rounds of ammunition has stalled.
Israel’s war with Hamas could also divert tens of thousands of artillery rounds initially slated for Ukraine, Axios reported in October.
Despite having German Leopard 2 tanks and American Bradley M1 fighting vehicles, Fizruk told The Times of London that his unit couldn’t break through Russia’s defensive lines without artillery shells.
To make up for the shortfall, Fizruk told the newspaper that his unit is now using unarmed drones to scare Russian troops away and fundraising for weapons they can buy.
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