Kyiv orders troops to withdraw from Sievierodonetsk as fears grow Lysychansk is also set to fall – live
Ukraine has run out of shells for the majority of its artillery, in part because of an eight-year-long clandestine Russian campaign of intimidation and sabotage, according to Ukrainian experts.
Russia fires more than 60,000 shells a day, 10 times more than the Ukrainians, according to Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maylar. Most Ukrainian artillery relies on the same 122mm and 152mm caliber shells that Russia uses, but outside of Russia there is very little supply, reports the Washington Post.
The shortage of shells in Ukraine is largely due to the fact that Russia spent years targeting storage facilities and ammunition suppliers in Ukraine and other Eastern European countries before launching its invasion. of Ukraine on February 24, the newspaper reports.
A “shadow war” is underway for the limited number of 152mm shells on the world market, according to the newspaper. An arms broker says officials in an Eastern European country couldn’t buy artillery rounds because the Russians warned them they “would kill them if they sold anything.” or to the Ukrainians”.
Countries that still have stocks of 152mm cartridges are largely ex-Soviet countries and some African and Middle Eastern countries, many of which are hesitant to sell to Ukraine due to their close ties to the Russia.
In some cases, Ukraine thought it had a deal to buy those shells, but a Russian-backed buyer stepped in at the last minute and aggressively outbid, the arms broker said.
Malyar told the newspaper that “the Russians are working very hard to make sure that we can’t sign contracts for this – and then if we sign a contract, to prevent us from having the shells delivered here.”
According to military analysts, Russia has long known that in a long attrition war against Ukraine, Kyiv might run out of ammunition. A former Ukrainian defense minister, Andriy Zagorodnyuk, said there were “constant discussions that we have to produce the ammunition ourselves”.
Ukrainian officials suspect that Russian and separatist saboteurs as well as Russia’s military intelligence agency, the GRU, have been engaged in a campaign across Europe and inside Ukraine to destroy arms depots and cut off Ukraine’s ammunition supply, the newspaper reports.