- Ukraine is now well supplied with artillery ammunition from the Russian retreat, the WSJ reported.
- Ukrainian soldiers faced severe ammunition shortages early in the war.
- Since most of its arsenal is of Soviet or Russian manufacture, Ukraine’s sources of resupply are limited.
Ammunition left behind by fleeing Russian troops fills Ukraine’s depleted reserves and fuels its counter-offensive, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Russia’s Hasty Withdrawal from Kharkiv in early September, soldiers abandoned a mass of equipment, including tanks, other armored vehicles and howitzers.
They also left behind huge amounts of Soviet-caliber artillery shells, the newspaper reported.
“The Russians no longer have a firepower advantage,” an unnamed artillery officer told the newspaper.
“We destroyed all their artillery units before launching the offensive, and then we started advancing so fast that they didn’t even have time to refuel and load their tanks. fled and left everything behind.”
This equipment is turned towards Russian forces as Ukraine advances beyond the recently recaptured town of Lyman in the Donbass region, reported the WSJ.
The recapture of Lyman offers strategic advantages as the city served as a supply and logistics center for Russian operations in the region.
Prior to those reversals in Kharkiv and Donetsk this fall, Ukraine struggled to match Russia in terms of firepower.
Much of Ukraine’s military arsenal consists of Russian or Soviet equipment, which makes it difficult for them to replenish stocks.
In March, Western officials reported that Ukrainian troops in Mariupol were resupply by stealing ammunition from Russian soldiers.
In June, Vitaly Kim, the governor of the southern region of Mykolaiv, said “we have no more ammunition”. Voice of America reported.
The United States has exhausted its own reserves of some ammunition in Ukraine’s supply, with 155mm ammunition levels getting ‘uncomfortably low’, says unnamed defense official told the WSJ end of August.
But that has started to change since Ukraine’s lightning-fast counteroffensive in September. As his soldiers recaptured huge swathes of territory in the northeastern region of Kharkiv, The Russians dropped their guns and abandoned the tanks.
A Ukrainian soldier, identified only as “Birdie”, told the Telegraph that during this effort: “They left a huge amount of vehicles and ammunition. We couldn’t transfer or evacuate it all to our rear.”
The Ukrainian Defense Ministry’s Twitter account has mocked the Russians as “the biggest supplier of equipment for the Ukrainian military” – a joke that some say is true.
—Defence of Ukraine (@DefenceU) September 11, 2022
Oryx, a project that documents and tracks the use and loss of military equipment, counts 442 Russian tanks as captured by Ukrainians throughout the war. Three hundred and twenty tanks have been supplied to Ukraine from elsewhere, the WSJ reported.
Armored fighting vehicles and infantry fighting vehicles captured in Russia also outnumber foreign donations, according to Oryx’s calculations.