The ammunition hunt comes amid a Ukrainian counter-offensive, as it pushes back Russian forces on the southern front in a bid to retake the city of Kherson.
Ukraine received precise, long-range rockets like the American-made Himars system, which proved formidable in devastating Russian airfields and key assets like bridges. But ammunition is expensive and scarce.
While Ukraine has had widely publicized successes using small arms like the NLAW and Javelin anti-tank missiles against Russian tanks, the Kremlin’s artillery outnumbers Ukraine with more than three Russian shells fired for every shot Ukrainian.
The Russians also have years of artillery munitions, according to a July report by the Royal United Services Institute’s defense think tank. Russia fires 20,000 shells a day compared to 6,000 for Ukraine, he added. Moscow’s use of drones and radar jamming has made its strikes particularly effective against Ukrainian positions, although Ukrainian forces have recently adapted to using decoy positions to draw Russian fire.
Ukraine will need a steady and diverse supply of ammunition, the Royal United Services Institute said.
The report states: “A challenge here is that NATO standardization is not very standardized, with howitzers from different countries not only having completely different maintenance requirements, but also using different charges, fuses and sometimes shells. different.
“The current approach of each country donating a battery of weapons piecemeal is quickly turning into a logistical nightmare for Ukrainian forces, with each battery requiring a separate training, maintenance and logistics pipeline. For support to Ukraine to be sustainable, one or two types of firearms need to be provided and for countries to step up production of the appropriate ammunition.