Ukraine requests ammunition ‘immediately’ as Russia ramps up attack

Ukraine has asked its allies for ammunition and artillery “immediately” and warned that it is running out of supplies to defend against a new Russian offensive that Kiev fears is imminent.

Deputy Prime Minister Olha Stefanishyna’s demand came on a day when Moscow was firing ballistic missiles at Ukraine’s infrastructure. A tour of western capitals by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy also followed, emphasizing the longer-term supply of fighter jets and heavy weapons.

“What is of the greatest urgency is . . . the ammunition and artillery that we need immediately to ensure that we can operate with the new military equipment that we have received,” Stefanishyna said in an interview with the Financial Times. “We don’t have the amount of ammo we need.”

Kiev is bracing for an impending full-scale attack by Russian troops as the Kremlin tries to seize more territory in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine ahead of the first anniversary of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s full-scale invasion later this month.

The Ukrainian army is consuming ammunition at an unprecedented rate as it penalizes exchanges with Russia, raising concerns about supplies.

Olha Stefanishyna, Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine
Olha Stefanishyna, Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister, said the Russians would “do everything possible to continue the war, make it permanent and exhaustive” © Milan Kammermayer/AFP via Getty Images0

It is estimated that Ukraine fires more than 5,000 artillery shells every day – the equivalent of a smaller European country’s orders in a whole peacetime year. This rate of utilization has placed enormous strain on European defense manufacturers, exacerbating supply chain challenges and lengthening lead times for many ammunition.

Stefanishyna, Zelenskyi’s top European integration official, warned that the Russians would “do everything possible to continue the war, make it permanent and exhaustive,” adding that Moscow has the resources, ammunition and reserves to meet its to continue the campaign.

EU Council President Charles Michel said on Friday the bloc must “work with the industrial sector and make sure we can speed up ammunition production”.

Russian strikes against Ukrainian cities and power structures came on Friday as Moscow announced it would cut oil production in response to a price cap, the first sign it is trying to arm oil supplies after cutting natural gas exports to Europe last year .

During the attack, Russian forces fired 71 cruise missiles, seven Iran-supplied Shahed attack drones and 35 S-300 missiles normally used for air defense, Ukraine’s chief of staff Valeriy Zaluzhnyi said on Twitter. Ukrainian air defenses shot down 61 of the cruise missiles and five of the drones, he added.

A missile crossed Moldovan airspace. Natalia Gavrilita, Moldova’s prime minister, later resigned a day after the country’s intelligence agency said Russia’s security services were trying to undermine the former Soviet state.

In another sign of rising international tensions, Alexander Novak, Russia’s chief negotiator at the Opec+ group of oil producers, said the country is cutting production by 500,000 barrels a day in response to the “destructive energy policies of the countries of the collective West”. This corresponds to almost 5 percent of Russian production. Ukraine requests ammunition ‘immediately’ as Russia ramps up attack

Adam Bradshaw

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