Estonia Identifies a Million Ammunition Units for Ukraine, Aiming to Bolster Artillery Needs

by Roman Cheplyk
Monday, April 8, 2024
Estonia Identifies a Million Ammunition Units for Ukraine, Aiming to Bolster Artillery Needs

Estonia has reportedly located a cache of a million shells and missiles destined for Ukraine, as stated by Estonian Defense Minister Hanno Pevkur

This significant find represents half of the artillery ammunition required by Ukraine by the year's end, according to a Forbes report.

Minister Pevkur disclosed to Postimees his efforts to secure an additional $2.2 billion in funding from the same nations that contributed $1.3 billion under a Czech-led initiative for these purchases. This financial endeavor by Estonia seeks to complement existing commitments, including potential contributions from the United Kingdom through its Ammunition for Ukraine initiative.

"If we combine the million shells, the prospective purchases by the Czechs, our contributions, and the UK's initiative, we might manage to supply Ukraine with 2 to 2.5 million shells this year, assuming the funds come through," Pevkur explained.

The Defense Minister highlighted that with an infusion of 2.5 million shells and missiles, Ukraine could level the playing field against Russia's ammunition reserves. Pevkur remained vague on the source of these munitions, stating they would come "mostly from non-European countries," with some European sources as well. The reluctance to disclose more detailed information stems from the sellers' desire for anonymity.

The specified ammunition includes NATO-standard 155mm, Soviet-era 152mm shells, and 122mm rounds for Grad rocket launchers. Forbes indicates that potential sources could span Eastern Europe, the Balkans, and possibly African nations, noting past contributions from South Korea, South Africa, and Turkey under the Czech initiative.

This development comes at a critical juncture for Ukraine, which has seen its artillery shell usage plummet from 6,000 to about 1,000 per day after a pause in U.S. aid, while Russian forces maintain a high rate of fire. The scarcity of ammunition has been a significant factor in Ukrainian tactical withdrawals, such as from Avdiivka in February.

Forbes underscores the multitude of challenges faced by the Ukrainian military, from manpower shortages to the lack of air defense systems and delays in equipment repairs. Yet, the critical need for more ammunition stands out as the most urgent issue. Addressing this need could significantly impact the ongoing conflict, potentially altering its course.

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