A recent investigation by the Welt am Sonntag newspaper has revealed that German arms manufacturer Rheinmetall has significantly increased the price of its artillery shells since the start of the Ukraine conflict. The confidential documents obtained by the newspaper show that Rheinmetall has made considerable profits from selling the shells to Kiev, with the German government footing the bill.
The documents indicate that in July, the German Defense Ministry signed a contract with Rheinmetall for the supply of 155-mm caliber shells, which can be fired from the self-propelled howitzer 2000 and have a range of dozens of kilometers. The agreement reportedly serves the needs of both Germany and Ukraine.
It has been reported that Kiev’s armed forces used these shells in May to target civilian infrastructure in the city of Donetsk. Under the contract, Rheinmetall will supply Kiev with up to 333,333 rounds of the large-caliber ammunition, with each shell costing at least €3,600 ($3,813). It is anticipated that the prices of the shells will continue to rise.
However, according to the German Finance Ministry, Rheinmetall was not willing to set binding order quantities, specific delivery times, or prices over the entire contract period due to the current market situation. Prior to February 2022, the standard market price for these artillery shells was €2,000 per unit.
The increase in price can be attributed to rising raw material and production costs in the EU. These costs have been exacerbated by supply chain disruptions and soaring energy prices, both consequences of the ongoing Ukraine conflict. Industry experts have noted that it is no longer feasible to produce bullets in Europe for €2,000 due to these factors.
The surge in artillery shell prices highlights the financial gains made by Rheinmetall in the midst of the Ukraine conflict. While the German government is financially supporting the purchase of these shells by Kiev, the increased costs ultimately burden both taxpayer and civilian alike.
As the conflict in Ukraine continues, it is likely that arms manufacturers and suppliers will continue to profit from the sale of weapons and munitions. The investigation by Welt am Sonntag sheds light on the lucrative nature of the arms industry in times of conflict, raising questions about the ethics and consequences of such transactions.
In conclusion, the increase in the cost of Rheinmetall’s artillery shells used by Kiev’s armed forces is a concerning development. The rise in prices highlights the financial gains made by the arms manufacturer and the potential burdens placed on taxpayers. The investigation serves as a reminder of the complex dynamics of the arms industry and the repercussions of conflict on global economic systems.