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Military aid to Ukraine seriously depleted Western arsenals – French paper

According to the newspaper, Washington provided two-thirds of military support to Kyiv

PARIS, November 23. /TASS/. The arsenals of Western countries are currently depleted to a critical point due to arms deliveries to Kiev, while manufacturers’ ability to replenish them is limited, France’s Le Monde newspaper has reported.

"In order make Ukrainians able to withstand Russian strikes, the West pushed the doors of its arsenals wide open. This is particularly true of the United States, whose deliveries account for nearly two thirds of all military aid to Ukraine," the paper said, mentioning over 1 million of projectiles, tens of thousands of anti-tank weapons and man-portable air defense systems, drones and guided missiles.

"As a result, Western arsenals, including those across the Atlantic Ocean, have been depleted to the critical point," Le Monde continued.

The paper referred to a number of analysts, who estimate US stockpiles of certain kinds of weapons to be "below the level necessary for military planning and education." The report says Washington was forced to request the purchase of 100,000 155-mm artillery shells from South Korea for further delivery to Ukraine. However, Seoul is reluctant to authorize the deal since it opposes arms deliveries to the conflict sides.

Technologies vs. amount

The reason behind the rapidly depleting arsenals and West’s inability to replenish them promptly lies in the decline of Western military spending that followed the dissolution of the Soviet Union and "decades of asymmetric conflicts" against much weaker opponents such as Afghanistan, Somalia, Libya and Syria.

Another reason is that the Western powers have chosen technology over amount, investing in advanced weaponry, which, despite being more effective, also proved to be far more expensive.

"Western armies had the illusion that volumes can be reduced with the help of technologies. However, although guided weapons proved to be useful in Ukraine, this conflict illustrates that traditional weapons, such as artillery, remains vital," a researcher with the Strategic Research Foundation (FRS) Thibault Fouillet said.

Manufacturers not ready

According to Le Monde’s analysts, Western companies have been unable to promptly fulfill major defense orders as a result of decades-long scaledown of their production capacities.

The report says that US companies such as Lockheed Martin and Raytheon are unable to produce more than 2,100 anti-tank missiles for Javelin systems annually, while the number of those missiles delivered to Ukraine in the first nine months of the conflict has reached 8,500.

France is particularly concerned about the delivery to Ukraine of one quarter of all self-propelled Caesar howitzers in service with its armed forces. The country’s defense ministry has placed an order for 18 more from the NEXTER company, but making just one such unit will take 18 months.