Artillery price

SCOTT TAYLOR: Heavy artillery imbalance favors Russians

In the simplified version of the war in Ukraine, an embarrassing truth that is simply ignored is that many of those fighting alongside the Russian invaders are Ukrainian citizens themselves.

Ethnic Russians and Russian-speaking separatists in the Donbass region still reside in what Canada recognizes as Ukraine’s sovereign territory, which means that despite their ethnicity, they are still Ukrainian citizens.

When Maidan protesters overthrew the regime of Viktor Yanukovych in 2014, one of the first acts of the new Ukrainian administration was to severely restrict Russian language rights. This, in turn, prompted the territories of Donetsk and Luhansk to break away from the new kyiv regime and declare themselves independent republics.

Just before his February 24 invasion, Russian President Vladimir Putin officially recognized these two republics, but to this day the rest of the world still considers these territories to be part of Ukraine.


With all hopes of Russia winning a lightning victory shattered as the columns of Russian armored vehicles wrecked on the road to kyiv, the war turned into a long battle of attrition.


To be clear, no one can justify Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine.

Given the disastrous results so far with Ukrainian military forces hitting a surprisingly inept and demoralized Russian war machine, even Putin must question his decision to start this conflict.

However, with all hopes of Russia achieving a lightning victory shattered as the columns of Russian armored vehicles wrecked on the road to kyiv, the war turned into a long battle of attrition.

This is no longer a tactical move but has become an artillery dominated stalemate. Unfortunately, this current situation strongly favors the Russians because they have a huge arsenal of ammunition.

It has been widely reported by the Ukrainian military that it is running out of artillery shells faster than the West can possibly replenish them.

It’s a desperate confession to make while your troops are still heavily engaged in combat.


This is no longer a tactical move but has become an artillery dominated stalemate. Unfortunately, this current situation strongly favors the Russians because they have a huge arsenal of ammunition.


One would think that it would only comfort the Russian attackers to know that their enemies were out of shells. However, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has few options as he pleads with the United States and European countries for additional munitions.

Canada announced last month that it would spend $98 million to buy 20,000 155mm artillery shells from an American manufacturer to ship directly to Ukraine.

Although this sounds like a generous donation from Canadian taxpayers to the war effort, you should know that currently the Ukrainian army is firing between 5,000 and 6,000 artillery shells a day in the battles of Donbass.

By contrast, the Russians are firing around 60,000 artillery shells and rockets each day, with no sign of running out anytime soon.

At the start of the fighting, the Ukrainian army used up the majority of its stockpiles of Soviet-era ammunition. The NATO-caliber artillery currently rushing into Ukraine is not yet on the ground in sufficient numbers to reverse the tide.


The Ukrainian army fires between 5,000 and 6,000 artillery shells per day in the battles of Donbass. By contrast, the Russians are firing around 60,000 artillery shells and rockets each day, with no sign of running out any time soon.


There is also the issue of having to train Ukrainian gunners on how to use NATO’s more modern and sophisticated heavy artillery pieces.

The Pentagon admits to having “heavily condensed” the training time for these crews, but there are fears that a partially trained gunner could prove to be a liability in terms of minimizing collateral damage on the battlefield.

It is also true that artillery shells are neither cheap nor quick to produce. As a result, many European countries that eagerly shipped up to 30% of their own stockpile to Ukraine are now eager to replace their own arsenals should this war expand in the near future.

There is no doubt that Putin did not achieve his initial goals. It’s also true that the once feared Russian war machine turned out to be an incompetent dud.


Now that Putin has narrowed his strategic focus to consolidating control over eastern and southern Ukraine, Ukraine’s brave defenders will find it difficult to regain lost ground. This will be extremely difficult if the current imbalance in heavy artillery continues without reversing.


However, now that Putin has narrowed his strategic focus to consolidating control over eastern and southern Ukraine, Ukraine’s brave defenders will find it difficult to regain lost ground. This will be extremely difficult if the current imbalance in heavy artillery continues without reversing.

Inside Russia, despite the enormous cost of war in lives and money, Putin retains an approval rating of over 80% – and rising.

Despite the sanctions, the Russian ruble remains strong and with high oil prices, Russia’s Gazprom continues to rake in huge profits from customers in Western Europe.

Even McDonalds outlets across Russia, which closed to protest the invasion, have reopened under a new name. For our part, with US and NATO defense companies producing and shipping munitions as fast as they can to Ukraine, the West is artificially boosting their defense sectors.

The only losers in this protracted conflict are the Ukrainians themselves. And unfortunately, there is no end in sight.