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Ukraine Needs 3 Million Artillery Shells a Year to Fight Russia

Ukraine Tank Video
Ukraine Tank Video Screenshot. Image Credit: Social Media Screenshot.

Ukraine War Update: The Russian advance into Bakhmut has slowed down over the past hours.

The Ukrainian government states that the situation in the town is still manageable, and Ukrainian forces are still inside the town defending. 

On day 383 of the war in Ukraine, Moscow is still looking for an operational breakthrough

The Russian Casualties in Ukraine

The Russian forces, especially the Wagner Group, continue to lose men and weapon systems in the fighting on the ground. 

Overall, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Monday, Ukrainian forces have killed approximately 159,800 Russian troops (and wounded approximately twice to thrice that number)

Destroyed equipment includes: 304 fighter, attack, bomber, and transport jets, 289 attack and transport helicopters, 3,474 tanks, 2,503 artillery pieces, 6,774 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, 493 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 18 boats and cutters, 5,354 vehicles and fuel tanks, 259 anti-aircraft batteries, 2,109 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 251 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 907 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses. 

“We Need 250,000 Artillery Shells a Month”

The conflict in Ukraine has been largely an artillery war. Both sides have used the “King of the Battle,” as Napoleon Bonaparte famously called artillery, profusely. Artillery fire has been the number one cause of casualties in the war. 

Every day, both sides can be found firing more than upwards of 25,000 rounds, usually with the Ukrainians firing 5,000 and the Russians the rest. As a result, resupply of artillery shells is paramount both to sustain offensive operations but also to defend. 

Recently, Ukrainian Minister of Defense Oleksiy Reznikov wrote a letter to his European counterparts asking for more artillery shells—specifically, 250,000 artillery shells a month or 3 million a year.

 “If we were not limited by the amount of available artillery shells, we could use the full ammunition set, which is 594,000 shells per month,” the Ukrainian Minister of Defense stated in the letter, excerpts of which were published by the Financial Times

By the figure “594,000,” Reznikov is referring to the capacity of all the artillery tubes in the Ukrainian forces. Kyiv is using a hodgepodge of different artillery weapons, including the M-777 155mm Howitzer, M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), and M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS).

“According to our estimates, for the successful execution of battlefield tasks, the minimum need is at least 60 per cent of the full ammunition set, or 356,400 shells per month.”

The Ukrainian military is planning a big counteroffensive in the upcoming months, and artillery will once more play a key role in softening the Russian defenses and opening the way for mechanized formations. 

But NATO has already depleted much of its artillery stocks and can provide only a fraction of what the Ukrainians are asking for. Indeed, before the war, an average NATO country would purchase 5,000 artillery shells a year for training purposes. The Ukrainian military fires that amount in just one day of normal operations. 

The war in Ukraine has highlighted the importance of artillery in modern-day conflict. And now, everyone is scrambling to reinvest in long-range fires. 

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Expert Biography

A 19FortyFive Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist specializing in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. He is currently working towards a Master’s Degree in Strategy and Cybersecurity at the Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). His work has been featured in Business InsiderSandboxx, and SOFREP.

1945’s Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist with specialized expertise in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. His work has been featured in Business Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP.