Russia ‘struggling with supply of weapons’ for war

Connie Queline

Russia ‘struggling with supply of weapons’ for war

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Russia is struggling to provide ammunition and weapons for its war in Ukraine, according to Western officials.

It is facing “extreme challenges” in obtaining sufficient equipment and materiel, an official said.

It comes as concerns over the provision of Western weapons to Ukraine are mounting.

As the war enters its third year, the supply of ammunition, arms and manpower looks set to be a critical factor.

“Russia’s domestic ammunition production capabilities are currently insufficient for meeting the needs of the Ukraine conflict,” a Western official claimed, saying Moscow has been able to increase its supply only by seeking out alternative sources of ammunition and weapons, which does not offer a long-term solution.

They pointed to the impact of sanctions as one cause.

“Sanctions are hitting the Russian military industrial complex hard, causing severe delays and increasing costs. An inability to access Western components is severely undermining Russia’s production of new systems and repairs of old systems, with long-term consequences for the quality of weapons produced,” they said.

Russia has made advances recently, such as taking the town of Avdiivka, and appears to have the upper hand on the battlefield.

But officials believe Moscow’s ability to deliver these successes has come at a high cost in terms of casualties. Russia is firing artillery shells at a far higher rate than Ukraine – five times more by some estimates – but fewer than it was in 2022 and is believed to still not be producing enough to replenish what it is using.

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The claims about Russian supply come amid growing pessimism in some quarters about Ukraine’s prospects after the relative failure of last year’s counter-offensive. The comments by officials appear to be an attempt to focus on the fact Moscow may have its own problems. Previous predictions that Russia was about to run out of missiles or other weapons have not always proved correct.

The official said Russia has been having to turn to foreign sources for arms. These include drones and missiles from Iran and ammunition stocks from North Korea. Some of this is also believed to be poor quality as well as having taken extensive negotiations, including a visit from Russia’s Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu to North Korea, to secure.

The official also said Russia is requisitioning equipment due to be delivered by its defence industry to other countries. This includes India, which has long been reliant on Russian weaponry for its armed forces, and whose air force a year ago said it was not receiving what it expected.

The claims about Russian weapons supply come ahead of the second anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on 24 February. The assessment from Western officials is that Russia has not given up on its original goals of “subjugating” Ukraine.

But they said Russia does not have a clear plan to bring that about other than hoping that in the long term its superior manpower and resources will make the difference by grinding its neighbour down.

Russia is currently producing more ammunition than Ukraine is receiving. However, Russia may be close to its limits of supply while there remains the possibility that Ukraine could still get more from its allies.

That makes clear that Western support and its supply of arms to Ukraine looks set to be a critical factor in the war’s outcome. And with a US package, which includes $60bn (£48bn) for Ukraine, currently stalled in Congress, the concern is that even with Russia struggling over its supply, it may still be able to outlast Ukraine if Western support does not come through.

Related Topics

  • War in Ukraine
  • Russia
  • Ukraine

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