Ukraine is slowly running out of ammunition to fight against the invasion of Russia and the prospect of victory may not be within reach because of it.
Ukraine’s domestic stores of ammunition have been significantly depleted and the military is being forced to rely on ammunition provided by Western allies.
The deliveries, however, are not coming fast enough for Ukraine to launch a defense and Russia is slowly gaining ground in the eastern Donbas region.
Initially, Russia lost equipment, but over the months this has reduced and the chance of Ukraine garnering a peace deal with Russia has all but evaporated. Russia is the unmistakable stronger force.
An adviser to the Ukrainian government, Oleksandr Danylyuk said, “The strategies and tactics of the Russians are completely different right now. They are being much more successful,” adding, “They have more resources than us and they are not in a rush. There is much less space for optimism right now.”
Because of the ammunition shortage, the Ukrainian military has had to rely on artillery and Vadym Skibitsky, deputy head of Ukraine’s military intelligence, admitted that the Ukraine’s military is relying on Western weapon systems and is losing the war against Russia.
“This is an artillery war now,” said Skibitsky. “And we are losing in terms of artillery.”
“Everything now depends on what [the West] gives us,” he added. “Ukraine has one artillery piece to 10 to 15 Russian artillery pieces. Our western partners have given us about 10 percent of what they have.”
“We have almost used up all of our [artillery] ammunition and are now using 155-caliber NATO standard shells,” said Skibitsky. “Europe is also delivering lower-caliber shells, but as Europe runs out [of ammunition to give], the amount is getting smaller.”
The United States has committed to providing around four days’ worth of artillery – 220,000 rounds of ammunition.
Skibitsky himself has emphasized the need for the West to supply Ukraine with long-range missile systems, which can destroy Russian targets from a distance.
Only a handful of these weapons have been promised, but deliveries will take weeks to reach Ukraine and then the military will have to be trained to be able to use the systems.
“The Russians are using these long-range artillery systems against us, often without any response, because we don’t have the means,” said Danylyuk. “They can attack from dozens of kilometers away and we can’t fire back. We know all the coordinates for all their important targets, but we don’t have the means to attack.”
Fighters are also suffering far more casualties than they were at the beginning of the invasion, and it has been reported that around 1,000 Ukrainian soldiers have been taken out of the fight daily, with around two hundred of those dying.
Danylyuk said that the lack of ammunition is far more of a problem than manpower being killed off – around six million have volunteered to fight – but they lack the weapons to fight with.
“We would be sending them to their deaths without equipment,” said Danylyuk.