Some Ukrainian Troops Now Prefer Soviet-Era Rifles Amid Ammo Shortage: Report

Some Ukrainian soldiers now prefer using Soviet-era assault rifles over Western models due to the worsening ammunition shortage.

American-born Jonathan Poquette, who serves as a sniper in Ukraine under the 59th Motorized Brigade, told Business Insider that his unit prefers AK-74 rifles because of the greater chance of finding suitable ammo on the battlefield.

He said the Russians often use guns with 5.45×39-millimeter rounds, which are compatible with many of the Soviet-era weapons in the Ukrainian military inventory.

Poquette explained that Western rifles use NATO-standard 5.56×45-millimeter rounds, which are hard to find on the ground.

“The reason why our unit in particular preferred the AK-74 platforms is because that weapon system is plentiful for the Ukrainians and Russians,” he said.

If Ukrainian soldiers insist on using Western-made rifles, they will have to rely heavily on supplies from foreign partners, which have apparently run low.

Ammo Shortage

Poquette’s revelation comes as Ukraine has yet to receive the recently approved military aid from the US, which is expected to include more weapons and ammunition.

US European Command head Gen. Christopher Cavoli recently said the Ukrainians are so outgunned by Moscow that for every artillery shell they fire at enemy positions, invading forces return five.

He also warned that the disparity could increase to 10 to 1 in a matter of weeks if the ammo shortage persists.

NATO head Jens Stoltenberg admitted that alliance members are not providing Kyiv with enough ammunition, allowing Russia to make significant gains on the battlefield.

Utilizing Russian Assets

This is not the first time Kyiv’s forces have utilized assets from defeated or fleeing Russian soldiers.

In 2023, Moscow was said to be “competing” with the West in supplying Ukraine with weapons due to the large amount of military assets it had abandoned on the battlefield.

These include over 800 artillery systems, armored vehicles, and weaponry the Ukrainians had used against their previous operators.

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