Shortages of ammunition have overshadowed Russian and Ukrainian movements over the past hours. While Russia's defense minister has vowed to increase ammunition supplies to his country's troops in Ukraine, warnings are being raised in Kiev of shortages of artillery and rocket ammunition ahead of a "spring counteroffensive."

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu's remarks during a visit to his country's troops in Ukraine came after accusations from the Wagner militia that they did not provide enough ammunition to troops on the front line.

It also comes days after the New York Times, referring to intelligence, reported that Russia would buy millions of artillery shells and rockets from North Korea.

The newspaper quoted a U.S. official as saying the purchases indicated that the Russian military "continues to suffer from severe shortages of supplies in Ukraine, partly due to export restrictions and sanctions."

Western officials say Western sanctions limit Russia's ability to replace vehicles and weapons destroyed in Ukraine.

Earlier, the British Ministry of Defence revealed that Russian reservists may be using "shovels" in "handy" combat in Ukraine, due to a lack of ammunition.

Military analysts say that although there is already a shortage of ammunition, the picture is more complicated, as Russian forces still use twice as much ammunition as the Ukrainian side.

Talk of munitions and the need for them by troops on the frontlines is matched by similar warnings in Kiev of shortages of artillery and rocket ammunition ahead of Ukraine's "spring counterattack" on Russia, but support appears to be coming.

Hours earlier, Reuters quoted three U.S. officials as saying that the United States would announce in the coming days a new $3.2 billion military aid package for Ukraine.

The US materiel list is expected to include six types of munitions, including tank munitions, as well as air surveillance radars, anti-tank missiles and fuel trucks.

It is also planned to list precision air munitions and bridge equipment that Ukraine could use to attack Russian positions.

The U.S. package will include rescue vehicles to assist malfunctioning heavy equipment such as tanks, and additional missiles for the NASAMS air defense system provided by the United States and its allies to Kiev.

On Saturday, Ukraine ordered Poland for 100 Rosumak multirole armored vehicles, manufactured under license from Finland, funded by the European Union and the United States.

Ukrainian condemnation

Meanwhile, Kiev denounced Russia's assumption of the rotating presidency of the UN Security Council for the month of April and warned against abusing that role.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky denounced the "failure" of the United Nations, saying in his evening speech: "It is difficult to imagine anything more proof of the complete failure of such institutions."

"There is no form of terrorism that Russia has not practised," he said, calling for "reform of international institutions, including the United Nations Security Council."

The Ukrainian president stressed that this "reform, which is obviously long overdue, includes the prevention of a terrorist state ... of destroying the world. Terrorists must lose, they must be held responsible for terrorism and not assume the presidency anywhere."

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba had earlier considered that "Russia's presidency of the UN Security Council is a slap in the face of the international community," and called on Twitter "current members" of the Council to "confront any Russian attempt to abuse this presidency."

But the criticism has not stopped Moscow from confirming that its Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will lead its delegation to the United Nations this month, succeeding Mozambique.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told reporters Thursday that "another major event of the Russian presidency is the high-level open debate of the Security Council on effective multilateralism through the defense of the principles of the UN Charter. This meeting will be chaired by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov."

Zakharova noted that Lavrov also plans to chair a discussion session on the Middle East on April 25.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will chair two meetings of the Security Council during the presidency of the Council (European)

Western resentment

Critical reactions were quickly drawn from Kiev's diplomatic supporters, particularly the United States, with White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre commenting, "We expect Russia to continue to use its seat to spread disinformation and distract from its attempts to justify its actions in Ukraine and war crimes committed by members of its armed forces."

"A State that brazenly violates the UN Charter and invades its neighbour has no place in the Security Council."

The three Baltic states, which are staunch supporters of Ukraine, also called Russia's assumption of the presidency of the UN Security Council an "April Fools."

"April Fool's Day is a perfect day" for Russia, Lithuania's Foreign Ministry quipped, adding that "Russia, which is waging a brutal war on Ukraine, can only lead the Council of Insecurity."

Estonia's diplomatic mission to the United Nations said it was "shameful and humiliating" that the U.N. Security Council was led by Russia, which is headed by Vladimir Putin, a "war criminal against whom an arrest warrant has been issued by the International Criminal Court."

For its part, Russia says at the United Nations that it is facing a "collective West" that has prevented it from dealing with the countries of the world since it began its military offensive on Ukraine in February 2022.

In this regard, a diplomat working on the UN Security Council stressed the fact that "the presidency is rotary. It's monthly, it's a short presidency and it's not as important as the G6, the G<> or the EU, which lasts <> months or a year, where you can push your own agenda."

"In the event of abuse of the presidency, we will, of course, respond. That's not the point. What is important is the war in Ukraine and work to end it."

Russia's presidency of the U.N. Security Council comes a week after Vladimir Putin announced his desire to deploy tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, his only European diplomatic ally, reinforcing Western concerns.

Macron (right) and Zelensky discuss the worrying situation at the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant (Getty Images)

Peace Summit

On the other hand, French President Emmanuel Macron discussed with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky - during a phone call Saturday - "diplomatic efforts that need to be made to organize a peace summit."

The two presidents discussed "the military situation in Ukraine," and Macron renewed his "support for Ukraine to put an end to Russian aggression," the French presidency said in a statement.

Zelenskiy said on Telegram that he and his counterpart discussed "the next steps to implement" his 10-point peace plan, adding: "We have coordinated actions for upcoming international events."

Paris said the two leaders also discussed "the worrying situation at the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant occupied by the Russian armed forces" since March 2022.