New Delhi: Ukraine says it has almost run out of artillery and is now heavily dependent on weapons from the West to stave off Russia.
Ukraine’s deputy head of military intelligence Vadim Skibitsky told The Guardian that the frontlines would be where the future was decided, “and we are losing in terms of artillery”.
“Ukraine has one artillery piece to 10 to 15 Russian artillery pieces. Our western partners have given us about 10% of what they have,” he said.
Ukraine is using 5,000 to 6,000 artillery rounds a day, Skibitsky said, adding, “We have almost used up all of our [artillery] ammunition and are now using 155-calibre Nato standard shells… Europe is also delivering lower-calibre shells but as Europe runs out, the amount is getting smaller.”
Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said Thursday that he was not “satisfied with the tempo and quantity of weapon supplies” from the West.
The New York Times said Reznikov and other officials were stressing on the challenges Ukraine faces in the east, “perhaps to add a sense of urgency to their daily calls for heavy Western weaponry”.
Although the Ukrainian military has “a clear artillery supply plan until the end of July,” the report quoted Reznikov, soldiers on the front lines were increasingly asking for more powerful weapons as the gruelling battles continued.
The war-ravaged country has demanded long-range rocket systems from the West to destroy Russian artillery from afar.
The United States announced last week it would supply the M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS).
This angered Russian President Vladimir Putin who warned the US that Moscow would strike new targets if Washington started supplying Ukraine with longer-range missiles.
Putin said that delivering new arms to Ukraine only aimed to “drag out the armed conflict for as long as possible”.
In the case of long-range missiles to Kyiv, Russia would draw “appropriate conclusions” and strike those “facilities” that it has not yet targeted, he said.
Despite Putin’s warning, the UK is set to send long-range missiles for the first time.
BBC quoted Defence Secretary Ben Wallace saying this week that the M270 multiple-launch rocket system would help Ukraine defend itself against Russia.
The government also said the Ukrainian military would get training in the UK on how to use the launchers.
Till the end of May, the US announced military assistance worth $4.6 billion for Ukraine, the UK gave 1.3 billion pounds and the European Union declared military support worth Euro 2 billion.