Europe still rushing arms to Ukraine, albeit running out of ammo: WSJ
Europe is striving to expand the manufacturing of weapons to support Kiev and still defend its own territory as war consumes more ammunition.
Europe, which is home to some of the largest armament producers in the world, is straining to provide enough ammunition for Ukraine and for itself, endangering NATO's ability to defend itself and its support for Kiev, a report by The Wall Street Journal revealed.
The report added that production capacity issues, a shortage of specialized people, supply-chain bottlenecks, high finance costs, and even environmental rules are impeding efforts to enhance output, posing a new challenge for the West and Ukraine in 2019.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization's European countries are rushing to strengthen their own defenses in view of the “mounting threat presented by Moscow, and the attrition war raging between Russia and Ukraine is now evolving into a rearmament race between Moscow and Brussels," the same report added.
Germany’s ammunition to last for two weeks in case of a Russian attack
The report also detailed that the military prowess of Ukraine also depends on European nations like Germany, which let their defense sector deteriorate during peacetime and are now fighting to catch up as they focus their attention on securing energy supplies.
Germany currently does not have enough ammunition to withstand a Russian attack for more than two weeks, falling far short of NATO standards that members maintain adequate ammunition to last for at least 30 days of war, as per German officials.
Wolfgang Schmidt, Scholz's chief of staff, said as quoted by WSJ that “this is because, despite being one of the top five arms exporters globally, Germany doesn’t have a large-scale armaments industry.”
According to Schmidt, the nation's once-massive manufacturing has been reduced to a luxurious workshop with limited capacity.
Schmidt has also said that Germany must spend 20 billion euros, or $21.2 billion, only to meet NATO's 30-day ammunition needs. Officials from the Defense Ministry claimed that in 2023, slightly over €1 billion is projected for ammunition in the present budget.
The report stressed that a few initiatives are being made to increase manufacturing throughout Europe.
German and Romanian officials announced that Germany would co-finance the renovation and development of a facility built during the Soviet era in Romania to make both NATO-standard shells and those compatible with Soviet-standard weapons employed by Ukraine.
By the end of this month, the initiative, which hasn't been previously publicized, might be revealed.
Companies are increasing production as well, often in advance of directives from the government, as per the report.
It is also worth noting that a secret report prepared by the German Ministry of Defense and handed over to the Defense Committee in the Bundestag has recently revealed that the country's military was suffering from a lack of arms, equipment, and operations.
The report said the German military could only sufficiently carry out its NATO duties only within a certain scope, as it is facing extreme hardship in fulfilling its commitments to the alliance.
Germany is Ukraine's biggest European backer, with Berlin continuing to transfer weaponry to Ukraine that even its own forces do not have.
Ukraine became the second largest importer of German weapons after Berlin approved the exportation of $584 million worth of weaponry to Ukraine within the first 6 months of 2022.
Read more: Germany supplies Ukraine with weapons its army doesn't possess