Ukraine’s allies are set to discuss the dwindling ammunition supply.
Defense officials from Ukraine’s closest allies will attend a virtual meeting on Wednesday to discuss how to supply Ukraine’s military as it blows through ammunition faster than producers can meet demand.
Wednesday’s meeting of the U.S.-led Ukraine Defense Contact Group will “focus on Ukraine’s urgent needs,” including ammunition, the Pentagon press secretary, Brig. Gen. Patrick S. Ryder, said at a briefing on Tuesday.
General Ryder declined to say whether the Pentagon had evaluated how quickly Ukrainian forces were expending ammunition. The American defense secretary, Lloyd J. Austin III, emphasized after a Ukraine Defense Contact Group meeting last month that additional training could help Ukrainian forces conserve supplies.
The pace at which both sides have burned through ammunition has run up against global production capacity and export controls that restrict arms sold to one country from being transferred to another.
Kyiv’s need for artillery has become more acute as it doubles down on fighting in Bakhmut, where it has signaled its willingness to tolerate heavy losses in an effort to bleed out the Russian Army. Though Western analysts say Russia has captured most of Bakhmut’s east and managed to carve a new front line, President Volodymyr Zelensky’s office reported on Tuesday that its top military officials remained in agreement about continuing the battle and had discussed the “pace and volume” of equipment deliveries from Ukraine’s allies.
Ukraine is expected to use Wednesday’s meeting to renew its requests for advanced air defense equipment, including new fighter jets, before a potential spring counteroffensive. The Ukrainian defense minister, Oleksii Reznikov, described air power as critical to any offensive after a meeting with his Dutch counterpart, Kajsa Ollongren, on Tuesday.
Mr. Austin said he had also spoken with Mr. Reznikov on Tuesday to discuss priorities before the meeting in Germany on Wednesday.
“This genuine support of the allies makes me very optimistic about the future,” Mr. Reznikov said on Twitter after their conversation. “Solidarity becomes efficiency on the battlefield.”
Marc Santora contributed reporting.
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