Ukraine’s military is consuming more ammunition than Western countries are providing almost a year after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Monday.
In a briefing ahead of this week’s meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels, Mr. Stoltenberg said key capabilities, such as ammunition, fuel and spare parts, must reach Ukraine before Russia can seize the initiative on the battlefield.
“It is clear that we are in a race of logistics,” he said. “The war in Ukraine is consuming an enormous amount of munitions and depleting allied stockpiles.”
Mr. Stoltenberg said Ukrainian troops are expending ammo at “many times higher” than the current rate of production for NATO members. The situation is putting pressure on allied defense industries.
He said the waiting time for large caliber ammunition — such as shells for the 155mm howitzers sent by the U.S. — has increased from 12 to 28 months, on average.
“Orders placed today would only be delivered 2½ years later. So we need to ramp up production and invest in our production capacity,” Mr. Stoltenberg told reporters at NATO headquarters.
Some NATO countries such as the U.S. and France have seen the writing on the wall and are now signing multiyear contracts with defense industries to ramp up ammunition production, which Mr. Stoltenberg said is “good news.”
“This is essential to ensure that we can keep supporting Ukraine while protecting every inch of allied territory,” Mr. Stoltenberg said. “President Putin is not preparing for peace, he is launching new offensives. We must continue to provide Ukraine with what it needs to win and to achieve a just and sustainable peace.”