NATO has warned that western supplies of ammunition for Ukraine are rapidly depleting, as Russia’s invasion shows no sign of ending.
The warning comes as Ukraine’s allies urged the besieged country to continue the fight, despite waning support from major military partners.
NATO’s most senior military official Admiral Rob Bauer said on Tuesday at the Warsaw Security Forum: ‘The bottom of the barrel is now visible.’
‘We give away weapons systems to Ukraine, which is great, and ammunition, but not from full warehouses. We started to give away from half-full or lower warehouses in Europe,’ Bauer said, adding that even these stores were getting low.
NATO officials weren’t the only ones who admitted that ammunition stockpiles were low.
NATO’s most senior military official Admiral Rob Bauer (pictured) said: ‘The bottom of the barrel is now visible’
The UK’s minister for the armed forces, James Heappey, said at the same panel that while stockpiles were currently low, the West has to increase its capacity for making more ammunition.
‘We have to keep Ukraine in the fight tonight and tomorrow and the day after and the day after,’ Heappey said.
‘[That means] continuing to give, day in day out, and rebuilding our own stockpiles.’
The dire warnings comes as cracks have begun to show in the West’s support for Ukraine, 20 months after Russia invaded the country.
Over the weekend, US politicians dropped a $6 billion aid package for Kyiv as Congress passed a short-term funding bill that narrowly avoided a government shutdown.
Cracks have begin to show in the West’s support of Ukraine
Russia illegally invaded Ukraine 20 months ago
Top US officials appear to recognise the damage that could be done by the US not providing enough aid to Ukraine, with Undersecretary of Defence Michael McCord writing in a letter to politicial leaders on Friday, shortly before Congress took the aid package out of the spending bill:
‘An inability to ensure timely procurement and deliveries could undermine essential Ukrainian operations to retake additional territory or defend against potential future Russian offensives.’
‘Without additional funding now, we would have to delay or curtail assistance to meet Ukraine’s urgent requirements, including for air defense and ammunition that are critical and urgent now as Russia prepares to conduct a winter offensive and continues its bombardment of Ukrainian cities,’ he added.
On top of this, Robert Fico, a pro-Moscow populist, won early parliamentary elections in Slovakia, potentially putting another Putin ally at the helm of an EU nation.
Fico, 59, has vowed to withdraw Slovakia’s military support for Ukraine in Russia’s war if his attempt to return to power succeeds.
NATO warned that ammunition reserves were low, 20 months into Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
Support for Ukraine from its international partners seemingly waned over the weekend
Top US officials appear to recognise the damage that could be done by the US not providing enough aid to Ukraine
Over the weekend, US politicians dropped a $6 billion aid package for Kyiv
‘People in Slovakia have bigger problems than Ukraine,’ he previously said.
Until now, the country of 5.5 million people, created in 1993 following the breakup of Czechoslovakia, has been a staunch supporter of Ukraine since Russia invaded last February, donating arms and opening the borders for refugees fleeing the war.
Slovakia has sent its fleet of Soviet-era MiG-29 fighter jets, the S-300 air defence system, helicopters, armoured vehicles and much-needed de-mining equipment.
Meanwhile, it has absorbed 100,000 Ukrainian refugees – more per-capita than any other country except Poland, the Czech Republic and the Baltic States.
British supporters of Ukraine’s war effort have been forced to step up its lobbying efforts.
Former defence secretary Ben Wallace claimed he urged Rishi Sunak to increase military support for Ukraine by more than £2 billion, a rise of 50%.