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Ukraine ramps up kamikaze drones production to compensate for ammunition shortage

Ukraine ramps up kamikaze drones production to compensate for ammunition shortage Ukrainian military (Getty Images)
Author: Liliana Oleniak

The shortage of artillery ammunition in Ukraine will continue. To compensate for the lack of shells, Ukraine is increasing the production of kamikaze drones, according to Deputy Defense Minister Ivan Havryliuk.

"As for artillery ammunition, this issue will continue to arise. Therefore, Ukraine decided to address these issues by creating a powerful UAV production facility," Havryliuk says in an interview.

In addition, Ukraine is increasing its production of ammunition "of almost all nomenclatures of the former USSR," the Deputy Defense Minister says.

However, most of the Western systems that Ukraine has received from its partners use a different caliber - the most common is 155 mm. Therefore, together with Western companies, Ukraine plans to produce such shells on its territory.

"We cannot talk about producing a large number of 155-mm shells," says General Havryliuk. But next year, he expects the Ukrainian defense industry to produce "enough of them to cover the difference between what is needed and the number of shells that can be provided by partners."

Help from the EU and the US

Western countries themselves have faced great difficulties in meeting their own goals of supplying Ukraine with ammunition.

The EU promised to send one million artillery shells by March 2024. But so far, only "480,000 have been delivered or are in the pipeline," European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen recently announced.

Since the beginning of the full-scale Russian invasion, the United States has provided Ukraine with more than two million 155-mm artillery rounds. But their stockpiles have also run out, so last summer they decided to send Ukraine cluster munitions.

Recently, the Estonian Ministry of Defense published a report titled "A Military Strategy for Ukraine's Victory and Russia's Defeat," which estimated that Kyiv needs at least "200,000 shells per month to maintain local firepower." If this intensity of fire is maintained, European and American stockpiles will be depleted by 2024, and "significant foreign purchases of ammunition" will be needed.

In the same article, the Estonian defense minister estimates that over the past year, production in Russia itself and the replenishment of stockpiles by countries such as North Korea has tripled, reaching 3.5 million shells a year. And next year it is likely to reach 4.5 million.

The shortage of shells

Earlier, the commander of the Tavria Operation Strategic Group of troops, Oleksandr Tarnavskyi, said that Ukrainian soldiers on the front line faced a shortage of artillery shells amid a reduction in aid from allies.