Western militaries are running out of ammunition to give to Ukraine — and therefore, production needs to increase, NATO and United Kingdom officials have warned.
“The bottom of the barrel is now visible,” Adm. Rob Bauer, chair of the NATO Military Committee and the alliance’s most senior military official, said Tuesday during a discussion at the Warsaw Security Forum.
“We need the industry to ramp up production in a much higher tempo,” he said.
Allies had increased budgets before the start of the war, but production capacity didn’t increase, and that in turn led to higher prices even before the war began, he said.
“That was exacerbated by the fact that we give away weapons systems to Ukraine, which is great, and ammunition, but not from full warehouses. We started to give away from half-full or lower warehouses in Europe, and therefore the bottom of the barrel is now visible,” Bauer said.
Speaking alongside Bauer, UK Armed Forces Minister James Heappey said the “just-in-time” model “definitely does not work when you need to be ready for the fight tomorrow,” and that aid for Ukraine should continue.
“We can’t stop just because our stockpiles are looking a bit thin,” Heappey said. “We have to keep Ukraine in the fight tonight and tomorrow and the day after and the day after. And if we stop, that doesn’t mean that [Russian President Vladimir] Putin automatically stops.”
That means “continuing to give, day in day out, and rebuilding our own stockpiles,” he added.