Nato has signed a 1.2 billion US dollar contract to make tens of thousands of artillery rounds to replenish the dwindling stocks of its member countries as they supply ammunition to Ukraine to help it defeat Russia’s invasion.
The contract will allow for the purchase of 220,000 rounds of 155mm ammunition, the most widely sought-after artillery shell, according to Nato’s support and procurement agency.
It will allow allies to backfill their arsenals and provide Ukraine with more ammunition.
“This is important to defend our own territory, to build up our own stocks, but also to continue to support Ukraine,” Nato secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg told reporters.
“We cannot allow President (Vladimir) Putin to win in Ukraine,” he added. “That would be a tragedy for the Ukrainians and dangerous for all of us.”
Ukraine was firing around 4,000 to 7,000 artillery shells each day last summer, while Russia was launching more than 20,000 shells daily in its neighbour’s territory, according to European Union estimates.
Russia’s arms industry far outweighs Ukraine’s and Kyiv needs help to match Moscow’s firepower.
But the shells will not arrive quickly — delivery on orders takes anywhere from 24 to 36 months, the Nato agency said.
The European Union plans to produce one million artillery rounds for Ukraine have fallen short, with only about a third of the target met.
Senior EU officials have said that they now expect the European defence industry to be producing around one million shells annually by the end of this year.