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Ukraine producing NATO-type shells won’t happen soon – WaPo

Ukraine will be able to start domestic production of NATO-standard 155mm artillery shells no sooner than the second half of this year, an insider source has told the Washington Post.

The question of domestic production has come to the forefront as Western nations have been unable to keep up with Ukraine’s demand for artillery shells during the conflict with Russia.

  • Last year, the EU pledged to supply a million of shells by March, a target that it has failed to achieve.
  • Meanwhile, Kiev’s own stockpiles of Soviet-made arms and the leftovers that could be donated by former Warsaw Pact countries quickly ran dry.

Kiev perceives domestic production as key to its war effort as the sustainability of foreign aid becomes increasingly uncertain.

The estimate for when domestic production of shells could be launched was provided to the Post by a source at Ukroboronprom, the state-owned defense giant.

The Post said that Ukraine’s defense industry had “fallen apart” after the USSR collapsed but is now “booming,” according to officials. Prime Minister Denis Shmigal has claimed that local manufacturing tripled in 2023, while digital transformation minister Mikhail Fedorov has stated that Ukraine is already making 90% of the military drones it needs.

Nevertheless, Russia has superiority in terms of the weapons available to its troops, Kiev has complained.

  • The newspaper listed a number of issues that are complicating Ukrainian plans to become a major arms maker. Ukraine suffers from shortage of investment, lacks a reliable source of gunpowder and rocket propellants amid a global supply crunch, is undermined by red tape in the arms procurement system, and cannot protect its factories from Russian strikes, according to the Post.

The Russian leadership considers dwindling Ukrainian manpower rather than problems with materiel as the key factor diminishing Kiev’s military capabilities.

“Additional military hardware can certainly be delivered, but the mobilization reserve is not unlimited.

And it seems Ukraine’s Western allies are indeed prepared to wage the war to the last Ukrainian,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said last summer while assessing Ukraine’s failing counteroffensive.

Kiev seeks to address at least some of its problems – at least in terms of funding – by convincing its Western backers to confiscate some of the $300 billion in frozen Russian central bank reserves, the Post said.

Moscow has warned that it would retaliate if its assets are “stolen.”

Source: RT