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Pentagon opens ammunition plant to supply Ukraine – media

The move comes as Russia gains ground on the battlefield

The US military has opened a new ammunition factory to supply Ukraine with artillery shells, Reuters reported on Wednesday. The plant is part of a broader effort by the Pentagon to update its industrial base, the news agency said. The move comes as Kiev’s Western backers scramble to provide it with weapons to try and curb Russia’s military gains.

The facility in Mesquite, Texas is the Pentagon’s first new major arms plant built since the start of the Ukraine conflict in February 2022, the New York Times wrote. According to the outlet, the factory was built from scratch in just ten months with help from a Turkish arms manufacturer.

The plant, which is still under construction, will consist of three production lines. Once complete, it will produce around 30,000 steel shells a month for the 155-millimeter howitzers used by Kiev’s forces.

The Mesquite factory will provide around a third of the Pentagon’s target of 100,000 shells per month by late 2025.

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NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said last year that Ukraine fired 4,000 to 7,000 artillery shells a day, exceeding Western manufacturing capabilities.

A military expert interviewed by the NYT questioned whether NATO countries are capable of surpassing Russia’s manufacturing capabilities. Even if the US and Europe provide “a million shells each” to Ukraine by the end of next year, it may still be “less than Russia is going to produce,” Michael Kofman from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace said.

Russian forces have gained ground in Donbass in recent weeks and have also launched a cross-border offensive into Ukraine’s Kharkov Region, aiming to create a buffer zone to protect its border regions.

Kiev has complained that NATO countries have not provided it with enough aid. On Wednesday, the senior adviser to Vladimir Zelensky, Mikhail Podoliak, said Russian troops have an absolute advantage in shells, missiles, and other types of weapons. In an interview with Bloomberg, Podoliak said Ukraine needs at least 60 Western fighter jets to hold back the advancing Russian forces.


READ MORE: Zelensky adviser demands 60 fighter jets from West

Last week, the US Defense Department announced the fifth military aid package for Kiev, worth $275 million, a month after US President Joe Biden signed a $60 billion foreign spending bill that earmarked funds for various types of military aid to Ukraine.

Last week, Moscow called the Western arms shipments “completely irresponsible.” According to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, the actions of Kiev’s Western backers may have “dangerous consequences” and will only worsen the plight of the Ukrainian people.

May 30, 2024 at 05:22PM
RT

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