European country could be left without ammunition reserves
According to the former head of the country's armed forces, the army would run out of ammunition in a day in a war with Russia. It would take about a year to replenish the missing stocks, the expert says.
General Sir Richard Barrons, who formerly served as the Joint Forces chief, claimed that spending cuts have depleted the British military to such an extent that in a hot war with Russia, the UK would run out of ammunition and artillery shells within just one day. According to research conducted by The Sun newspaper, the United Kingdom’s ammunition plants would need at least one year to produce the amount of shells currently used by the Ukrainians in their conflict with Russia.
“This is truly shocking. But it is true. And we must fix it. The UK spends more on defence than any EU ally and our brave Armed Forces have long been one of Britain’s most influential levers around the world. Yet for decades they have been hollowed out by spending cuts,” he added, saying that the government would need to spend an additional £3 billion per year on the military to rejoin the top level of the NATO alliance.
Commenting on the published information, the Ministry of Defence said that while ammunition levels are “highly classified”, it was boosting spending on ammunition stockpiles to “more than pre-invasion levels” with an extra £560 million earmarked by the Treasury.
“The war in Ukraine is an example of Soviet doctrine which uses vast quantities of artillery. We do not, nor ever have, used artillery in such methods, so to try and draw such conclusions is misleading,” the ministry claimed.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace agrees with the military chief, saying that the United Kingdom’s defence apparatus has been “hollowed out and underfunded”. “There’s a recognition that as the world gets more dangerous, unstable, defence should continue to get a growing proportion of spending, we can then debate how much that proportion should be,” he said.
Last year the conservative government finally promised to increase military spending, pledging 7 billion pounds in extra funding for the 2024-25 fiscal year, which should see defence spending rise to 51.7 billion pounds.
Despite the apparent lack of military readiness, war hawks in the Conservative Party such as former Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the head of the House of Commons Defence Select Committee, Tobias Ellwood, have both called this week for Britain to double down on its support for Ukraine, calling for the government to send fighter jets to the Ukrainians. Mr Ellwood, meanwhile, said that Britain should engage “directly” with Russia in Ukraine rather than letting the local fighting force “do all the work”, despite noting that currently the British military is in a “dire” state, with 10,000 fewer troops than necessary.