Ukraine's Western partners are short on weapons and can't churn them out fast enough to fuel a counterpunch for long, defense experts say

A Ukrainian tank fires at Russian positions near Kreminna, Lugansk region, on January 12, 2023.
A Ukrainian tank fires at Russian positions near Kreminna, Lugansk region, on January 12, 2023.ANATOLII STEPANOV/AFP via Getty Images
  • Ukraine's Western partners are short on weapons and can't make them fast enough to meet Kyiv's needs.

  • Experts told The Washington Post that NATO countries have been too slow to manufacture munitions.

  • They've also depleted their own stockpiles in the process, hurting the longer war effort in Ukraine.

Ukraine's Western friends have an ammo problem.

Countries are facing dwindling stockpiles and can't manufacture weapons fast enough to support Kyiv's ambitions to launch a counteroffensive against Russian forces, according to the Washington Post.

Defense experts told the Washington Post that many of Ukraine's NATO partners — especially European nations — haven't mobilized their defense industries to meet battlefield needs for artillery, tanks, air defense systems, and ammunition.

Now, their efforts to quickly increase production might be futile.

"You don't have to be a great military analyst to realize that European countries making major investments into artillery production 13 months into the war are a little bit late," said Michael Kofman, director of the Russia Studies program at the Center for Naval Analyses, to the Post.

In recent months, allies have pledged to send more weaponry as Ukraine blows through its Soviet-made stockpile.

Germany offered the fast and lethal Leopard tanks to Ukraine in January, followed by US Abrams tanks that have a record of shattering Soviet-era armor.

But the decisions were made reluctantly after both Germany and the US repeatedly rejected Kyiv's requests for the weapons. And they'll take months — if not closer to a year — to arrive on the battlefield.

Some experts told the Post that it was clear early during Russia's invasion that this war would last longer than anyone originally anticipated; that realization, they said, should've prompted Western leaders to begin investing in increasing manufacturing efforts rather than depleting their own stockpiles.

"The penny has dropped that this might go on longer and that you have to invest in your industry if we are going to make this sustainable," Jack Watling, senior research fellow for Land Warfare at the Royal United Services Institute, told the Post. "The fact of the matter is that this was obvious in April last year, but people sat on their hands."

Now, as Ukraine continues to weigh when to launch its highly-anticipated counteroffensive, it's unclear how successful it'll be. But Kyiv's use of Western armor will likely mark the start of a larger counterpunch, as it'll signal that Ukraine has more of the artillery it was promised by friendly nations.

Read the original article on Business Insider