Stoltenberg Says Ukraine Using Way More Munitions Than NATO Can Produce

The NATO chief says the war is depleting the alliance's stockpiles

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Monday that Ukrainian forces are using significantly more ammunition than the alliance’s members can produce, putting a strain on Western stockpiles.

“The war in Ukraine is consuming an enormous amount of munitions, and depleting allied stockpiles,” Stoltenberg told reporters ahead of a NATO defense ministers meeting in Brussels.

“The current rate of Ukraine’s ammunition expenditure is many times higher than our current rate of production, and this puts our defense industries under strain,” he added.

Stoltenberg said that NATO needs to “ramp up production” and that the defense ministers meeting will focus on “ways to increase our defense industrial capacity and replenish stockpiles.”

The US has sent an enormous number of artillery shells to Ukraine since the Russian invasion. The US has provided Ukraine with over one million 155mm shells and is working to increase its production of ammunition by 500% over the next two years to meet Ukraine’s demand and also maintain Pentagon stockpiles.

But even with the US and NATO’s plans to increase production, it’s not clear if the policy of flooding Ukraine with weapons is sustainable. To offset the strain on NATO stockpiles and to make more money from the war, British and other Western arms makers want to start manufacturing weapons inside Ukraine. But a production line could take years to establish, and the factories could be targeted by Russia.

Stoltenberg said NATO is in a “race of logistics” to deliver equipment to Ukraine as Russia is making more gains in the Donbas. “Key capabilities like ammunition, fuel, and spare parts must reach Ukraine before Russia can seize the initiative on the battlefield,” he said.

Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov will join the NATO defense ministers in Brussels on Tuesday, where he will likely push for fighter jets. Stoltenberg said providing Ukraine with aircraft would be discussed at the meeting but that he preferred to focus on weapons Ukraine could use immediately as training on fighter jets would take time.

While there have been no pledges of Western jets to Ukraine, the UK said it will start training Ukrainians on how to fly NATO aircraft this spring. The discussion of jets comes after a series of escalations in Western military support for Ukraine, including the provision of heavy tanks and armored fighting vehicles.

Each new weapon brings NATO and Russia closer to a direct clash, something Stoltenberg has previously warned could happen. In December, Stoltenberg warned that a full-blown war with Russia was a “real possibility.”

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.