Rheinmetall CEO promises to send Kyiv 'hundreds of thousands' of shells this year

The German arms manufacturer Rheinmetall will supply Ukraine with "hundreds of thousands" of shells in 2024, including prototypes of artillery shells with a range of 100 kilometers, Rheinmetall CEO Armin Papperger said on May 5, as reported by the German outlet Handelsblatt.

As Russia intensifies aerial attacks on Ukrainian cities and gains footholds along Ukraine's eastern front line, a critical ammunition shortage limits the extent to which the Ukrainian military can respond.

"The artillery is the game changer," Papperger said at an event organized by the Association of Business Journalists at the Dusseldorf Industrial Club.

Papperger said Rheinmetall plans to send "hundreds of thousands" of artillery shells to Ukraine this year, and that the deliveries would include prototypes of longe-range shells that can travel 100 kilometers.

Rheinmetall is focusing heavily on artillery production, Papperger said. Before Russia's full-scale invasion, the weapons company had an annual capacity of around 70,000 shells. This year, the company expects to produce 700,000.

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Papperger said that artillery production had been gradually declining in both the United States and Europe in recent years.

"The Western world is not prepared for a conventional war," he said.

Rheinmetall plans to build new artillery plants in Unterluess, Germany, and in Lithuania, Papperger said.

Previously the company announced it would also build an artillery factory in Ukraine, along with facilities dedicated to the production of military vehicles, gunpowder, and anti-aircraft weapons.

During the Munich Security Conference in February, Papperger signed a memorandum of intent with Ukraine's Strategic Industries Minister Oleksandr Kamyshin to produce artillery shells in another joint plant based in Ukraine.

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