Ukraine Is Running Out of Crucial 155 MM Artillery Shells

by | Jan 23, 2024

Ukraine Is Running Out of Crucial 155 MM Artillery Shells

by | Jan 23, 2024

155mm ammo

Ukraine has nearly depleted its stockpile of 155 mm artillery shells for its American-made howitzers. The shortage is problematic for Ukrainian troops, who are out-fired ten to one by Russian forces. 

A Ukrainian soldier speaking with CNN said, “The ratio [of artillery fire]  is about 10 to 1. Russia is a country that produces ammo, and they have strategic reserves. Yes, they use old Soviet systems. But Soviet systems can still kill.”

Since Russia invaded Ukraine in February of 2022, Washington has shipped Kiev over two million 155 mm rounds. Ukrainian forces have burned through shells at a rate of nearly a quarter-million per month. 

The White House is waiting for Congress to pass another supplemental spending bill that would authorize over $60 billion in aid for Ukraine. Even if the assistance package is passed, Washington has a shrinking pool of arms to send to Ukraine. 

President Joe Biden attempted to cover the shortage of artillery rounds in the West by sending Ukraine a cluster variant of the 155 mm round. Giving cluster bombs likely violates US law that outlaws transferring munitions with bomblets that have a high dud rate. Cluster bombs drop submunitions that often do not explode on impact and kill civilians years after wars end. 

A second issue for further 155 mm shell shipments to Ukraine is a delay in the West in producing more rounds. NATO announced on Monday the alliance would spend $1.2 billion to acquire over 200,000 rounds. However, officials noted that it would likely be over two years before the arms would be delivered. The North Atlantic Alliance plans to ship some rounds to Ukraine and put some in NATO stockpiles. 

The artillery shortage is not an issue for Russian troops. Moscow has shifted its economy for war-time and can produce two million shells per year. Additionally, President Putin has developed Russia’s relationship with North Korea, giving the Kremlin access to another stockpile of artillery shells.

Kyle Anzalone

Kyle Anzalone

Kyle Anzalone is news editor of the Libertarian Institute, opinion editor of and co-host of Conflicts of Interest with Will Porter and Connor Freeman.

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