Ukraine can fire thousands of artillery rounds daily, defending itself against Russian invaders. At the same time, NATO forces in Afghanistan might have fired 300 rounds a day.
That’s according to The New York Times, Ukrinform reports.
According to NATO officials, the amount of artillery being used is staggering. In Afghanistan, NATO forces might have fired even 300 artillery rounds a day and had no real worries about air defense.
But Ukraine can fire thousands of rounds daily and remains desperate for air defense against Russian missiles and Iranian-made drones.
“A day in Ukraine is a month or more in Afghanistan,” said Camille Grand, a defense expert at the European Council on Foreign Relations, who until recently was NATO’s assistant secretary general for defense investment.
A senior NATO official said that last summer in the Donbas region, the Ukrainians were firing 6,000 to 7,000 artillery rounds each day, whereas the Russians were firing 40,000 to 50,000 rounds per day. By comparison, the United States produces only 15,000 rounds each month.
The West is scrambling to find increasingly scarce Soviet-era equipment and ammunition that Ukraine can use now, including S-300 air defense missiles, T-72 tanks and especially Soviet-caliber artillery shells.
The West is also trying to come up with alternative systems, even if they are older, to substitute for shrinking stocks of expensive air-defense missiles and anti-tank Javelins.
There are even discussions about NATO investing in old factories in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Bulgaria to restart the manufacturing of Soviet-caliber 152-mm and 122-mm shells for Ukraine’s still largely Soviet-era artillery armory, the report said.
According to Mark F. Cancian, a former White House weapons strategist who is now a senior adviser at Washington’s Center for Strategic and International Studies, the Ukrainians want at least four systems that the West has not provided and is unlikely to: long-range surface-to-surface missiles known as ATACMS that could hit Russia and Crimea; Western fighter jets; Western tanks; and a lot more advanced air defense.
The ATACMS, with a range of some 190 kilometers, or about 118 miles, will not be given for fear they could hit Russia; the tanks and fighter jets are just too complicated, requiring a year or more to train in how to use and maintain.
As for air defense, Cancian said, NATO and the United States deactivated most of their short-range air defense after the Cold War, and there is little to go around. Producing more can take up to two years.
Washington is also looking at older, cheaper alternatives like giving Ukraine anti-tank TOW missiles, which are in plentiful supply, instead of Javelins, and Hawk surface-to-air missiles instead of newer versions.
“But officials are increasingly pushing Ukraine to be more efficient and not, for example, fire a missile that costs $150,000 at a drone that costs $20,000,” the article says.
According to Cancian, it may take four to five years to increase production capability of 155-mm shells.
The post NYT: Ukraine Firing Thousands of Artillery Rounds a Day appeared first on Kyiv Post.