"To keep arming Ukraine, Norway may drop munitions stocks below required levels"
“We are more looking how we can increase the stocks from previous levels. But we are looking into if you can take even more from our stocks in the short term to support Ukraine. And to then to refill it,” Norway's defense minister said this week.
AARON MEHTA on September 23, 2022 at 9:15 AM
WASHINGTON — Norway is considering letting stocks of key munitions drop below their required levels, accepting greater vulnerability in the short term as the price the northern European nation is willing to pay to keep up the flow of weaponry to Ukraine.
The move would coincide with a longer-term push to raise the required baseline for munitions stockpiles to new, higher levels down the road.
In other words, Norway is prepared to take on short term risk to keep Russia tied up in Ukraine, while looking to expand stockpiles in the future when munition production is more readily available.
The idea was still conceptual, and would need approval of Norway’s parliament. But Norwegian defense minister Bjørn Arild Gram, speaking to a small group of reporters while in Washington this week, said that getting the balance right between present and future planning is going to be a major focus over the coming months.
“We are more looking how we can increase the stocks from previous levels. But we are looking into if you can take even more from our stocks in the short term to support Ukraine. And to then to refill it,” he said. “Obviously we want to increase that even more, but maybe in the short term, we are donating.”
An aide to the minister noted that “we are at the point where we are looking to go lower because of the situation [in Ukraine] of course, but … longer term that is certainly pointing to an increase. So maybe [taking on] more risk now” with an eye towards the future.
“More and more it will be about cooperating with industry and purchasing new equipment,” Gram added.