Der Spiegel: Europe is desperately looking for ammunition for Ukraine all over the world

Germany and other European countries are desperately looking for where to buy ammunition for Ukraine, Der Spiegel reports. Unfortunately, they are now in short supply around the world. At the same time, time is working against the Europeans: unless much more ammunition is supplied, Ukraine’s stockpile will be exhausted by June at the latest.

Christian Freuding speaks about artillery ammunition with a note of desperation, Der Spiegel writes. The Bundeswehr general has been the head of Ukraine’s Defence Ministry headquarters since the beginning of the conflict and is Germany’s main procurer when it comes to supplying weapons to Kiev. For months, he has been preoccupied with only one topic: ‘We are trying to buy ammunition from all over the world’.

European governments have been faced with an existential question: are they able to procure the necessary defence equipment themselves without US involvement? The results so far are sobering. “Unfortunately, artillery and anti-aircraft ammunition are not represented in abundance on shop shelves around the world,” notes Freuding. They are in short supply everywhere. The Ministry of Defence in Berlin is brainstorming every day about where else to find ammunition.

According to French government circles, the Europeans already buy about 70 per cent of their military equipment from the US, and there is no way this dependence can be allowed to increase.

Instead of discussing an offensive as they did last year, Europe is now talking about when we can expect a breakthrough and a further Russian push inland. The maximum goal for Ukraine for 2024 is defence, Europeans believe. But this will also urgently require more shells on the front.

Time is working against Europe: according to intelligence services, Ukrainian stocks will be exhausted no later than June, and possibly even earlier, unless much more is supplied.