Russia and Ukraine are burning through artillery shells and other weapons and munitions at a rate not seen since the Korean War, officials said, and will need to restock during the long winter ahead.
Russia fires 20,000 artillery rounds a day, a senior US defense official estimated, while Ukraine fires 4,000 to 7,000 rounds a day.
Ukrainians are quickly burning their stocks of artillery shells and other ammunitionincluding for their air defense systems, officials said.
“Ukraine still needs a significant amount of artillery to move forward,” the official said. “The consumption rates in this war are very high.”
Ukraine has not lost a single HIMARS system, the official said. The United States has provided 18 of the high mobility multiple rocket launchers to the Ukrainians.
Russia is also running out on artillery and other equipment, according to a Western official and a US official. Russia has lost much of its equipment and weapons, including attack helicopters, and it is using more of its long-range munitions to strike targets, which could indicate that it is using other stocks, said a Western official. Russian reservists and mobilized forces even arrive at front lines unarmed in some cases, officials said.
Speaking at the Economic Club of New York on Wednesday, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley said Russia had burned a lot of equipment, munitions and men. Milley said Russia and Ukraine had each suffered more than 100,000 dead or injured since the war began.
Milley said the human misery caused by the Russian invasion “must end”. Both sides must recognize that victory is not achievable by military means, he argued, and come to a negotiating table. He called the likely slower operational tempo in Ukraine this winter a “window of opportunity” for negotiations. Fighting will continue in the cold, but the situation will be “relatively static”, he said.
For months, U.S. defense and military officials said one of the main reasons Ukraine was successful in defending itself against Russia was because it held the airspace above of Ukraine disputed from the start of the invasion. Some officials believe that Russia’s inability to quickly take control of the country was partly due to the disputed airspace keeping many advanced Russian aircraft grounded or restricted to Russian skies. But Ukraine needs more air defense systems, officials said, so it has an integrated network capable of defending against drones and missiles flying at different altitudes and distances.
Without sufficient air defense munitions and integrated air defense systems, Ukraine’s air superiority is at risk, officials said. Russia hasn’t been able to use its substantial air force much since the invasion, but if it starts using it, it could turn the tide of the war and change the nature of the fighting. Ukraine does not have a substantial air force, so it needs to make sure it can make flying dangerous for the Russians.
The United States and its allies have accelerated efforts to supply Ukraine with more systems and munitions, including a resupply of Ukraine’s Soviet-era air defenses. “Work is underway to determine how much can be produced and how quickly, not only for US systems, but for other systems as well,” a defense official said.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and other US officials pushed allies and scoured warehouses around the world to supply Ukraineand some have intensified.
At a meeting with more than 50 allies in Brussels last month, defense leaders from around the world agreed that air defenses were an urgent priority for Ukraine and met for hours to find ways to get from Ukraine both new systems and ammunition for the old Soviet era. systems. The United States delivered its first shipment of short- and medium-range air defense systems called NASAM on Tuesday, according to Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov, who tweeted that Aspide air defense systems had also arrived and thanked its partners in Spain, Norway and the United States.