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US in talks with Turkey for explosives as war in Ukraine saps supply: report

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The US is negotiating to increase purchases of explosives from Turkey to boost the production of artillery shells amid allies’ efforts to provide Ukraine with ammunition, Bloomberg reported, citing unnamed officials familiar with the matter.

Ukraine is facing critical shell shortages, as $60 billion in funding from the US remains stuck in Congress.  Delays in military assistance have already had a direct impact on the battlefield, contributing to the loss of the key front-line city of Avdiivka.

Turkish supplies of trinitrotoluene (TNT) and nitroguanidine, which is used as fuel, would be “crucial” in the production of NATO-standard 155 mm shells and could potentially triple production, sources told Bloomberg.

The production lines of the Turkish defense company Repkon are expected to produce about 30 percent of all US-made 155 mm artillery ammunition by 2025, according to Bloomberg.

The Pentagon also purchased 116,000 rounds of ammunition from the Turkish company Arca Defense for deliveries this year, with further purchases expected next year, the news agency’s sources said.

Unnamed Western officials told Bloomberg that ammunition production in the US and Europe could “significantly increase” in 2025 and the year after as major defense companies and smaller suppliers start to ramp up production.

Russia is producing close to 250,000 artillery munitions monthly, or around 3 million per year, which is nearly three times more artillery munitions as the US and Europe can send to Ukraine, CNN reported, citing NATO intelligence estimates and unnamed sources familiar with the matter.

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