The head of NATO’s Military Committee is urging the alliance to increase arms production, warning the “bottom of the barrel” of NATO’s stockpiles is now visible due to the massive amounts of weapons and ammunition that have been shipped to Ukraine.
Dutch Adm. Rob Bauer made the comments on the first day of the Warsaw Security Forum. He said NATO military budgets increased before the Russian invasion but that the Western arms industry did not increase production capacity.
“And that has led to higher prices already before the war. And that actually has (been) exacerbated by the fact that we now give away weapon systems to Ukraine, which is great, and ammunition, but not from full warehouses,” Bauer said, according to TVP World.
“We started to give away from half-full or lower warehouses in Europe and therefore the bottom of the barrel is now visible. And we need the industry to ramp up production at a much higher tempo and we need large volumes,” he added.
According to more from Reuters:
Bauer last month warned that a drastic rise in ammunition prices meant that allies’ higher defense spending did not automatically translate into greater security and called for more private investment in defense companies.
Earlier this year, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Ukraine was using artillery shells at a faster rate than the entire alliance could produce, raising questions about the sustainability of the proxy war. The US and its allies are taking steps to ramp up production, but results are expected to be seen anytime soon.
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Bauer’s comments came after a British military source told The Telegraph that the UK was out of weapons to give to Ukraine. “We will continue to source equipment to provide for Ukraine, but what they need now is things like air defense assets and artillery ammunition, and we’ve run dry on all that,” the source said.