Soldiers during the Rapid Trident-2021 joint exercises of Ukraine and NATO countries at the Yavorovsky training ground in the Lvov Region.InternationalIndiaAfricaNATO General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg has claimed that the West should brace itself for a continuous conflict in Ukraine and agree on a minimum 2% GDP defense spending in order to arm the Kiev regime.”If the West wants a prolonged war, and it seems that they do want it, they are afraid of the defeat which seems to be inevitable at this moment – the defeat of NATO in their proxy war with Ukraine,” Professor Stevan Gajiс, a research associate at the Institute of European Studies in Belgrade, told Sputnik.”They will have to invest more in their industry, which is now an especially hard task since many of the Western countries are deindustrialized, since they have sent their industries overseas, especially to China and other Asian countries. I think that the stocks that already exist are the first ones to go. So they will be empty, more and more,” he continued.On March 21, Stoltenberg unveiled his annual report for 2022 during a news conference in Brussels. The NATO chief claimed that the alliance “is more unified than it has been since at least the end of the Cold War” and is ready to continue supporting Kiev in its conflict with Russia. Stoltenberg stated that while Russian President Vladimir Putin wanted “less NATO”, he will soon have “more NATO” on his doorstep given Finland and Sweden’s forthcoming accession to the bloc. Judging from the NATO secretary general’s words, the alliance had long prepared for a conflict with Russia:“NATO has implemented the largest reinforcement of our collective defense in a generation,” Stoltenberg said. “So, when Russian tanks rolled into Ukraine, we were ready. Within hours, we activated our defense plans from the Baltic to the Black Sea.”He lauded the collective West’s hefty military assistance to Kiev and revealed that the alliance is “in the process of agreeing new capability targets for the production of battle-decisive ammunition and engaging with industry to ramp up production to support Ukraine” in its conflict with Russia.Stoltenberg noted that many NATO allies pledged to increase their defense spending amid the Russian special operation in Ukraine: “Now, these pledges must turn into real cash, contracts and concrete equipment, because defense spending underpins everything we do,” he said.Earlier, the EU reached a deal to send Ukraine one million rounds of ammunition within the next 12 months. The plan will see the EU both donate ammunition from its own stockpiles and also jointly purchase new shells for Ukraine.MultimediaHow the West’s Depleted Uranium Ammo Spells Death for Soldier and Civilian Alike23 March, 15:54 GMT
Neither US Nor EU Can Replenish Dwindling Munitions Quickly
The reality, however, is not as rosy as depicted by the NATO chief, noted Gajiс.”I think we can already see that NATO and the United States are trying to find weapons wherever they [can],” the Serbian researcher noted. “Olaf Scholz traveled to Latin America in order to conduct such business, but with little or no success. They’re trying to do the same in Africa, and all over Asia. So far, it seems that they were only successful with the shells from Pakistan and only due to the internal turmoil in that country, which was in many ways caused by the United States. I think that South Korea and Japan might be interested in providing weaponry.”As per Gajiс, the US military-industrial complex is not at full operational mode yet.
"The EU says it will purchase shells, but from where?" asks Matthew Gordon-Banks, a former British Conservative Member of Parliament and senior research fellow at the UK Defence Academy. "The supplies do not exist to purchase."
Western media has repeatedly warned that Ukraine is burning through ammunition faster than the US and NATO can produce it. According to the US press, to continue providing the Kiev regime with ammo and to rebuild its own stockpiles, the Pentagon is planning to substantially increase the production of ammunition and put portions of the US defense industry “on a war-footing” despite technically not being at war. In particular, the US Army is planning a 500% increase in artillery shell production, from 15,000 a month to 70,000, as army acquisition chief Doug Bush told the US media last month.“It will take the US ten years to replace the stocks expended at current production levels,” stressed the former British lawmaker.The situation is becoming more and more hopeless for Kiev as Russian forces are continuing their offensive and encircling Bakhmut, also known as Artemovsk, according to Gordon-Banks.
"Ukraine is short of manpower, short of ammunition and especially short of artillery shells," he said. "The idea that the EU, America or anyone else can replace those losses before a major Russian offensive when the weather and ground conditions improve is nonsense. The longer the Americans insist on using every single able-bodied Ukrainian to die in this conflict is outrageous."
AnalysisRichard Wolff: US Faces Multifaceted Economic Crisis23 March, 13:55 GMT
US and EU Economies in Bad Shape
"Generally, the US is in a bad situation when it comes to their world domination, the evaporation of the petrodollar and other important tectonic changes, the ones that were announced by President Xi at the end of his visit to Russia," said Gajiс, referring to the latest meeting between Chairman Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin. "In the long run, the only real beneficiary in the US will be the military-industrial complex. Maybe this all is bad news for Wall Street, but it is certainly not for the military-industrial complex that will have lucrative deals."
The US economy is still engulfed with inflation while a fully-fledged banking crisis may also soon unfold in the country, as international observers warn. The country is facing a multifaceted economic crisis, while Europe, which is already suffering from higher inflation, is bracing itself for a spillover of the US banking mess into EU economies.Protests over plummeting living standards and against further spending on the Western proxy war in Ukraine have been held across the Old Continent over the last few months.European peoples are getting fed up of lower living standards and lack of cheap energy whilst their leaders back Kiev in the ongoing conflict, according to Gordon-Banks.In fact, the EU is continuing to support the Kiev region because European politicians have their “political skin” at stake in the West’s proxy war against Russia in Ukraine, said Gajiс. If Kiev loses, which the Serbian scholar thinks is inevitable, these officials will be “political losers.””Therefore, they will push the agenda until the end. That’s why they see a personal interest in this. Although objectively speaking, this is completely against the interests of their own countries,” Gajiс concluded.