Germany has been trying to satisfy the weapons needs of the Ukrainian military, but its stockpile of artillery rounds has been depleted to barely 20,000. German manufacturing has not been able to increase to the point where it could provide Ukraine with shells while still retaining enough to suit Germany’s defense demands, despite Germany’s role as the economic and industrial powerhouse of the European Union.
After Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, countries like Germany hurriedly dispatched supplies of 155 million artillery rounds used by howitzers to the government, depleting their reserves.
In late November, Russian forces were firing 20,000 rounds daily, while Ukrainian troops were firing between 4,000 and 7,000, which has undoubtedly increased as the Ukrainian counteroffensive has stalled.
President Trump has been outspoken in his criticism of Germany for being “delinquent” on NATO expenditure pledges and hence unprepared to meet its responsibilities during crises like the conflict in Ukraine.
According to Der Spiegel, the German armed forces must stockpile 230,000 rounds before 2031 to satisfy the NATO requirements of having adequate artillery to last 30 days of heavy battle.
The ministry plans to bring nine contracts for the expedited procurement of artillery and tank ammunition to the budget committee in the coming months.
After having trouble sourcing ammunition for the self-propelled anti-aircraft weapons it delivered to Ukraine, the country’s defense minister announced on Tuesday that Germany had agreed on fresh ammunition to be made domestically.
Since Germany initially promised to transfer them to Ukraine in late April, it has sent 32 of the Gepard anti-aircraft weapons. Since the German military hasn’t needed them since 2012, the defense industry was able to pull them from their reserve supply.
Getting extra bullets for the weapons has been difficult, a growing worry in light of Kyiv’s newfound focus on defense against Russia’s frequent missile and drone attacks.
German efforts to have neutral Switzerland allow the shipment of Gepard ammunition stocks, produced in Switzerland by a subsidiary of German defense giant Rheinmetall, to Ukraine, have thus far proved fruitless.