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As NATO warns that its stockpiles of artillery munitions are running low, the U.S. military is attempting to train Ukrainian forces to change how they fight in order to conserve shells. Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin, outlined the effort after a meeting in Brussels with the Ukraine Defense Contact group.
Austin told reporters, ”We are working with the Ukrainian soldiers in various places throughout Europe to emphasize additional training on maneuver so that as they place more emphasis on maneuver and shaping the battlefield with fires and then maneuvering, there’s a good chance that they’ll require less artillery munitions, but that’s left to be seen.”
The secretary confirmed that Ukraine has used “a lot of artillery ammunition” and reiterated that the U.S. is doing everything possible to keep supplying Kyiv with more munitions. “We’re going to do everything we can, working with our international partners, to ensure that we get them as much ammunition as quickly as possible and that we’ll do everything we can to sustain our efforts there as well,” Austin added.
Over the course of the past year, the U.S. has sent an overwhelming amount of artillery to Ukraine, particularly 155mm shells. Due to the depletion of U.S. stockpiles and the continuing demand for more munitions from Kyiv, the Pentagon is increasing its production of artillery shells by 500 percent over the next 2 years to meet the demand and replenish stockpiles.
Even with the drastic increase in the production of ammo, NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg said Monday, it is still uncertain whether or not continuing to provide massive weapons caches to Ukraine is sustainable for NATO as Kyiv is burning through more munitions than the military alliance can produce.
“The war in Ukraine is consuming an enormous amount of munitions, and depleting allied stockpiles. The current rate of Ukraine’s ammunition expenditure is many times higher than our current rate of production, and this puts our defense industries under strain,” Stoltenberg added.
Meanwhile, the Chairman for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley, announced last week that Russia had lost the war and indicated that it was up to Russian President Vladimir Putin to end his “war or choice.”