As Kiev looks to improve its armor capabilities for a counteroffensive against invading Russian forces, a major Ukrainian armaments factory said on Tuesday that it had begun producing 125-mm ammunition for Soviet-era tanks.
According to state-owned Ukroboronprom, the ammunition was being produced outside of Ukraine with the assistance of an unspecified NATO nation.
The Security and Defense Forces of Ukraine announced in a post on the Telegram app that the first batch of 125-mm projectiles for T-64, T-72, and T-80 tanks had already been delivered.
It said the shells had been made to fulfil an order from Ukraine’s defense ministry. Despite them being made abroad, Ukrainian personnel participated in the manufacturing process, Ukroboronprom said.
While Western-made battle tanks donated by allies will soon enter service with Ukraine’s armed forces, the bulk of Kyiv’s tank fleet will remain Soviet-made in the short term.
This creates an acute need for new sources of ammunition supply, as most NATO tanks use a different caliber — while the vast majority of 125-mm round stocks are held by Russia and other countries who would not supply Ukraine.
Kyiv’s wider drive to produce its own ammunition comes as many of its Western allies feel the pinch in their own limited stockpiles after supplying Ukraine for over a year as it fights off Russia’s invasion.
Ukroboronprom said this is the second type of munition which it had started to make in co-operation with a NATO member state.
In February, it announced the start of joint production of 120-mm mortar rounds, again with an unnamed NATO partner.