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Ukrainian soldiers face running out of ammunition as supplies build up on Polish border

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A Ukrainian service member loads ammunition into cartridges in central Zhytomyr. Photo: Viacheslav Ratynskyi/Reuters

A Ukrainian service member loads ammunition into cartridges in central Zhytomyr. Photo: Viacheslav Ratynskyi/Reuters

A Ukrainian service member loads ammunition into cartridges in central Zhytomyr. Photo: Viacheslav Ratynskyi/Reuters

Ukrainian units could run out of ammunition within days amid warnings that a logjam of Western-donated armaments is building up in Poland.

Analysts have said the willingness of Nato nations to offer lethal weapons to Kyiv risks being undermined by the slow pace at which Ukrainian forces are able to collect and deliver them to the front line – particularly in the east.

Dr Jack Watling, land warfare research fellow at the UK’s Royal United Services Institute, said: “Everything is building up in Poland in a big stockpile.

“Everyone is donating stuff, including the Germans, Finns. But Nato troops can’t deliver it into the country. Ukrainians need to come in convoys to pick it up from the Polish border.”

A “considerable lag” had developed between the arrival of weapons systems and ammunition in eastern Europe and its deployment on the front line, he said.

Ukrainian units in Kharkiv and Donbas, in the east of the country, could run out of ammunition within days.

There appeared to be little sign of large numbers of military vehicles heading for the border yesterday.

A convoy of six armoured vehicles was seen leaving the E40 motorway, possibly heading in the direction of the railway town of Przemysl, where thousands of fleeing Ukrainians have been arriving over the past few days.

The town is close to the Medyka border crossing with Ukraine, which could provide a point of entry for military equipment being sent from the west.

There have been other sightings of military equipment on the move, in some cases on unmarked vehicles, disguising their country of origin.

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On Sunday, a convoy of four low loaders, each carrying one battle tank, was seen on the E40 heading east from the Polish city of Rzeszow towards Ukraine.

The task of transporting equipment by road and rail to these areas is made harder by Moscow’s growing air superiority over the country and the territorial gains of Russia’s advancing forces, which is increasingly cutting off Ukrainian supply lines.

A wide variety of weapons have been donated by the West, including Javelin infrared-guided anti-tank rockets from the US and Estonia, Panzerfaust 3 anti-tank weapons from the Netherlands, and Stinger surface-to-air anti-aircraft rocket systems from Germany.

However, Nato nations have declined to offer in-country logistical support to deliver the arms, as the risk of Western non-combat troops being injured or killed while transporting them could drag the alliance into the war.

Highlighting Russian tactics in Syria, Dr Watling warned Moscow was likely to step up assaults on Ukrainian convoys collecting weaponry.

Such attacks would involve Russia “dropping ordnance very close to Nato’s border”, which risk a miscalculation or accident leading to potential military escalation. 

Telegraph Media Group Limited [2022]


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