NATO arms for Ukraine depleted!
NATO arms for Ukraine depleted!
The NATO chief acknowledges Ukraine's demand for arms exceeds what the U.S.-led military alliance has to offer.

TEHRAN (Iran News) –The NATO chief acknowledges Ukraine’s demand for arms exceeds what the U.S.-led military alliance has to offer.

With all the military equipment NATO has sent, is it time for the military alliance to reassess its strategy toward the Ukraine war?

Speaking to reporters ahead of a NATO summit, Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg admitted that “the current rate of Ukraine’s ammunition expenditure is many times higher than our current rate of production – this puts our defense industries under strain.”

Boosting stockpiles and production, Stoltenberg emphasized, “requires more defense expenditure by NATO allies.”

The head of the U.S.-led military alliance has called on the 30 member states to speed up the production of arms for delivery to Ukraine and avoid a Russian victory.

“For example,” he noted “the waiting time for large-calibre ammunition has increased from 12 to 28 months. Orders placed today would only be delivered two-and-a-half years later. So we need to ramp up production, and invest in our production capacity.”

The West, with the United States in particular, has already shipped tens of billions of dollars worth of military assistance to the warzone in an attempt for Ukraine to retake control of the eastern Donbas region.

This is the same Donbas region in the country where ethnic Russians have been fighting Ukrainian forces since 2014, leading to at least 14,000 deaths as well as the failure of Kyiv to take control of the region.

Since Russia launched what it described as a “special military operation” in February 2022, citing multiple security concerns, the focus of the battle has been mostly based in the same eastern and southeastern regions of Ukraine.

As members of the so-called U.S.-led Ukraine Defense Contact Group met in Brussels to address the arms assistance crisis to Ukraine, they are facing pressure to speed up delivery and provide even more sophisticated weapons to Ukrainian forces.

But this is no easy task with Ukraine still waiting for the promises of battle tanks and warplanes. These calls have faced hesitation from Kyiv’s Western allies who don’t want to risk direct confrontation with Russia amid political hurdles and challenges back home.

“The essential question is: What do they want to do with planes? It’s not clear,” a French diplomat, who was unauthorized to speak publicly, told Politico. “Do they think that with 50 or 100 fighter jets, they can retake the Donbas?” the diplomat asked.

In response to a question about the U.S. providing fighter jets to Ukraine, U.S. Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin said “in terms of whether or not we’re going to provide F-16s, I don’t have any announcements to make. I don’t have anything to add to what our president said earlier. I’ll just leave it at that.”

Experts say the war could have been easily avoided and flashpoint territories where ethnic Russians reside could have been settled without the eruption of further violence eight years later.

Russia argues the shipments of weapons to Ukraine are prolonging the war and suffering of Ukrainians.

But Stoltenberg appears adamant for the war to drag on, saying NATO has conducted research for each member’s munitions and is in the process of planning targets to increase the member states’ stockpiles for more munitions.

Critics of the war argue that with the first anniversary of the conflict approaching and with all the Western weapons that have been shipped to Ukraine so far, can the U.S.-led military alliance contain Russia?

And with Kyiv in urgent need of more military aid, the question is where exactly is this war heading and which parties are making lucrative profits at the expense of others.

Western arms manufacturers and U.S. gas firms have been making a lot of money whilst households in Western Europe have faced record inflation levels after the West slapped sanctions on cheap Russian energy supplies that Western Europe was heavily dependent on.

As the war shows no signs of ending, surveys indicate European households are growing increasingly wary about the conflict amid a cost of living crisis back home.

Nevertheless, the United States and NATO have pledged (in public) that Western military support will not lose momentum.

Cracks among NATO states have also emerged over the shipment of more advanced arms with debates around sending certain types of weapons, most notably tanks, resulting in high-level diplomatic spats.

Reports say the information war is extremely sensitive at this moment in time as it’s difficult to gauge the exact figures on exactly how much munition each NATO member has left and not replaced.

It might explain why Stoltenberg had to travel to South Korea and Japan to ask Seoul and Tokyo to ship weapons in addition to pleading with Latin American countries to make military contributions as well.

Richard Shirreff, a retired British Army general and NATO’s former deputy supreme allied commander in Europe, told CNN: “This is critical to national and European security. You don’t want to demonstrate your vulnerabilities to any potential aggressor. But at the same time, people need to understand that this is serious, something has to be done urgently.”

“All of the NATO countries must take a serious strategic look at this. We might be at the stage where we need to tell bicycle manufacturers to pivot and start making ammunition. The only way we are going to get back on track is to prepare for the worst case, which means relearning lessons from the Cold War to avoid another world war,” Shirreff added.

There is certainly a concern in the U.S.-led military alliance over the looming ammunition crisis as it did not anticipate Russia to hold on to the frontlines so firmly for so long.

CNN has reported that even the biggest supplier of weapons to Ukraine and the world’s top military exporter, the United States, is having trouble keeping up with the arms supply demand.

As Stoltenberg warns that Kyiv is using up its ammunition far faster than its allies can provide, estimates suggest Ukrainian forces are firing up to 6,000-7,000 artillery shells every day.

Reports say that during meetings with EU heads, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and his senior officials gave each EU leader a special list requesting weapons and equipment based on the country’s known stocks and capabilities.

“The first thing on the list was, everywhere, the ammunition,” Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas has been cited as saying.

“If you have the equipment and you don’t have the ammunition, then it’s no use,” the Estonian leader added.

And the West is by all accounts low on ammunition in their arsenal.

“It is clear that we are in a race of logistics,” Stoltenberg told reporters. “Key capabilities like ammunition, fuel, and spare parts must reach Ukraine before Russia can seize the initiative on the battlefield.”

“Ukraine has urgent requirements to help it meet this crucial moment in the course of the war,” Austin added.

NATO deputy assistant secretary general Jamie Shea also said NATO had “largely used up the available stocks” and this meant it “had to persuade its defence industries to go back to opening up the production lines” and to produce the stock at scale and quickly.

Asked if it would be possible to do this, Shea added, “It’s not going to be easy, but there is a push going on.”

“While we get production ramped up if we can persuade some of these other sorts of pro-Western countries beyond NATO to provide these types of munitions that should help to fill the gap in the meantime.”

What may prove risky for NATO is that it is led by the United States and history proves the Pentagon’s foreign military adventurism has not exactly been successful in the past several decades.

On the contrary, the U.S. has waged or triggered wars which have very rarely (if ever) ended in a victory for Washington.

Estimates suggest Ukrainian forces are firing up to 6,000-7,000 artillery shells every day.

“Do they think that with 50 or 100 fighter jets, they can retake the Donbas?” a French diplomat told Politico.

  • source : Tehrantimes