NATO is struggling to produce enough ammunition to supply Ukraine in its ongoing war with Russia, the alliance's Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Monday.
"The war in Ukraine is consuming an enormous amount of munitions and depleting Allied stockpiles," Stoltenberg said in a press conference held before a meeting of NATO Defence Ministers. "The current rate of Ukraine's ammunition expenditure is many times higher than our current rate of production. This puts our defence industries under strain."
He added that the waiting time for large-calibre ammunition has increased from 12 to 28 months: "Orders placed today would be delivered two-and-a-half years later. So we need to ramp up production and invest in our production capacity."
Stoltenberg stressed that the timely delivery of arms supplies to Ukraine is becoming increasingly important, with Russian President Vladimir Putin allegedly planning new offensives in the coming weeks.
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"It is clear that we are in a race of logistics. Key capabilities like ammunition, fuel, and spare parts must reach Ukraine before Russia can seize the initiative on the battlefield."
Stoltenberg's comments come against the backdrop of increasingly desperate calls for ammunition from Kyiv. According to The Financial Times (FT), Ukraine is currently firing roughly 5,000 artillery rounds every day: similar to the amount purchased by a small European country each year.
"What is of ultimate urgency is... the ammunition and the artillery that we need immediately to make sure that we can operate with the new military equipment we received," Ukraine's Deputy Prime Minister Olha Stefanishyna said in a recent interview with the FT. "We do not have this amount of ammunition that we need."