Russia Producing 3 Times More Shells Than US, Europe Combined: NATO Report

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by Tyler Durden
Wednesday, Mar 13, 2024 - 06:00 AM

Authored by Will Porter via The Libertarian Institute,

Russia’s defense industry is turning out nearly three times more artillery shells than its American and European counterparts, according to a NATO intelligence report obtained by CNN. Western powers have scrambled to ramp up production as Ukrainian troops face dire ammunition shortages.

While the US and Europe have the capacity to produce a combined 1.2 million shells annually, Russia’s output has now reached 3 million, the NATO estimate said. Though Washington aims to boost production to 100,000 155mm shells each month by 2025 – up from just 28,000 last September – that target can only be met with a resumption of American aid to Kiev, and would still put US output at less than half of Moscow’s.

Russian Defense Ministry/AP

According to US officials, Russia is burning through around 10,000 shells per day, vastly outgunning Ukraine’s daily average of just 2,000. The Estonian Defense Ministry has estimated that Kiev would need 200,000 rounds every month to match Russia’s firepower.

The European Union has also raced to step up shell production to help close the gap, pledging last year to provide 1 million shells by March. However, the bloc later acknowledged it would fall short of that goal by half, estimating it would supply a little over 500,000 by the deadline.

Though Europe’s production capacity has lagged to meet Ukraine’s needs, a group of Western states has reportedly agreed to purchase 800,000 artillery shells that could be “delivered within weeks,” according to Bloomberg. The Czech Republic would act as a middleman in the deal, while Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania and the Netherlands are expected to foot the bill.

Persistent ammo shortages likely help to explain recent battlefield setbacks for Ukrainian forces, including a withdrawal from the key Donbass city of Avdeevka, as well as a lackluster summer counteroffensive which failed to make significant gains.

Though the United States has supplied Kiev with more than 2 million 155mm rounds and a vast array of other munitions since 2022, American military assistance has largely dried up thanks to congressional gridlock over the latest aid bill. Part of a larger spending package that would supply arms to Israel and other US partners, $60 billion for Ukraine remains blocked by House Republicans, who have demanded reforms to US border policy before approving additional aid. 

The Pentagon announced that it had run out of money for Ukraine last December, while a senior defense official recently told Politico that Washington is already $10 billion in the hole, unable to backfill US stocks unless the new aid bill is passed.

With the Russo-Ukrainian war now in its third year, Kiev’s prospects appear increasingly bleak as its troops beat fighting retreats across a vast front line, incurring heavy losses in the process. Almost entirely reliant on foreign largesse, the country’s fate is likely to be decided in Western capitals, where public support for continued aid has declined significantly since the start of the conflict.