Ukraine's use of ammunition has more than doubled. Column by Serhiy Zgurets
EU countries fail to produce and supply Ukraine with the promised volumes of 155 mm rounds in time, and army ammo consumption has increased from 3,000 rounds per day to 7-8,000.
Ammunition from the EU
The European Union countries are not able to produce and supply Ukraine with the promised amounts of 155mm ammunition in time. I would like to remind you that this year the EU approved an ambitious plan under which the Ukrainian Defense Forces were to receive 1 million rounds of ammunition in 12 months, both from existing European stockpiles and from manufacturers who were to increase their production capacity. All ammunition was to be delivered by March of the following year. , according to Bloomberg, as of today, it appears that only 30% of the planned volume has been delivered in 7 months. This is 300 thousand rounds of ammunition. Some EU countries have already asked for an extension of the ammunition delivery terms under their contracts.
Bloomberg claims that this could potentially give Russian forces an advantage in the supply of ammunition. Some experts suggest that in the first half of this year, Ukraine's artillery, using NATO-caliber guns, used its capabilities to about 20%. However, the supply of cluster munitions from the United States increased these limits. And from about summer to fall, Ukraine's potential increased to 40% of the maximum possible rate.
At the moment we can say that the rate of ammunition use by the Ukrainian side has increased from 3,000 rounds per day to 7-8,000. Thus, we have equaled or even exceeded the rate of artillery use by the Russian army. All analysts have come to this conclusion. We understand that 7 thousand rounds of ammunition per day is the lowest rate of Russia since February last year. This is about 200 thousand rounds per month or more than 2.5 million rounds per year.
Estonian intelligence has stated that Russia still has 4 million rounds of ammunition in stock, plus supplies from North Korea. At the rate of about 10,000 rounds per month, Russia can use its artillery for at least another 13 months, and that does not include the volume of ammunition production. This suggests that Ukraine must now hope for continued U.S. ammunition assistance, including the supply of cluster munitions that can compensate for the lack of supplies from Europe, and hope for the development of its own defense industry. However, this should have been thought of much earlier. Ammunition is needed all along the front line, as are drones.
Situation at the frontline
Yuriy Fedorenko, commander of the 92nd Assault Brigade named after Otaman Sirko, said that the Russian forces continue to carry out assault and attack operations in certain areas of the Kupyansk direction. However, at the moment, the Defense Forces are holding their positions quite strongly, so the Russian enemy is not having significant tactical success.
Ukrainian defenders will be able to stop Russia's attack and stabilize the situation. Moreover, the invaders have been storming Ukrainian positions on this section of the frontline for several days. For almost four months now, the Russian army has been trying to push through Ukrainian defenses to reach the administrative borders of the Luhansk region and to restore its position in the Kharkiv region.
Yuriy Fedorenko noted that the situation looks different in the Bakhmut direction. In some areas, the Defense Forces continue performing assault and attack operations. Fierce, heavy fighting is ongoing round the clock. The Ukrainian Armed Forces have been successful in some areas on the flanks.
The Russian enemy is knocked out of every hole, every crevice. Sometimes it happens that Ukrainian soldiers manage to go through only two holes in a day, knocking the invaders out. This is a complex and collaborative work. Russia objectively has a lot of resources, both in manpower and equipment. But despite this, the Ukrainian troops continue to push forward and ensure results on the battlefield. Russia's task remains the same: to stop the Ukrainian offensive at any cost and try to regain lost ground. This means the dominant heights, which are key, and some bridgeheads. At the moment, the initiative is fully on the side of the Ukrainian Defense Forces. In the titanic complex battles, the Armed Forces are not only holding the initiative but are also delivering clear and high-quality results on a daily basis.
Ukrainian military-industrial complex
Let's move on to a discussion of drones, but with their mass production, and how to expand drone production in Ukraine.
Artem Viunnyk, director of the Athlon Avia company for the development and production of drones, said that the developments that Ukraine's partners have today are extremely important for Ukrainian manufacturers because the partners already have solutions for the efficiency of Ukrainian products. Accordingly, Ukraine needs to cooperate, work together with the partners, and improve each other, and this is actually happening. Not only is the Ukrainian industry developing thanks to the use of domestic products in real combat conditions but also those companies that supply certain components to Ukraine are developing. We must not forget that Ukrainian developments must also progress, and we need to invest both money and time in certain components. Ukraine has the potential to develop its own communications, satellite and alternative navigation. That is, there should be quick solutions at the expense of partners, but also investments in the future on Ukraine's own.
The director of the Athlon Avia Research and Production Company noted that as long as Ukraine's budget plan is annual, it is impossible to sign contracts without having budget assignments. For Ukrainian parliamentarians, this should be one of the most important tasks in the development of the defense industry today. Ukraine needs to change its budget planning and make budget allocations at least three years long, and then the industry will explode, in a good way, with new developments, increased capacity, and accumulation of human resources. The most important issue now is to change the rules of the game in this aspect.
Viunnyk added that attention should be paid to the issue of reservations for military industry workers so that clarifying the military-account specialty does not lead to a fight between the company and military commissariats for each individual person. Some kind of solution is needed so that a military specialty is specified a priori for a person who works at a military-industrial enterprise and is needed in the production process so that the specialist can continue to work for the state's defense capability.