Russia Might Run Out of Weapons, Ammunition By End of Year: Report

The Russian military could see massive arms shortages before the end of the year as it continues its military occupation of Ukraine, international news outlets reported this week, posing additional problems for its military, which has struggled to maintain a foothold.

Latvian-based Insider reported Tuesday that recent sanctions on Russia and successful counteroffenses by Ukrainian troops have led to rapid declines in its stockpiles of artillery shells and armored vehicles, while its ability to conduct air strikes and fire guided missiles will likely be exhausted by year’s end.

With Russia’s inability to replenish arms, along with its current rate of fire, Insider estimated that the military should run out of weaponry by the end of the year, building onto a series of public missteps by the military that have included vehicle losses in the thousands and mounting casualties.

“Being cut off from the supply of Western equipment, spare parts and materials and at the same time limited in terms of human capital and labor productivity, Russian manufacturers of artillery and ammunition will inevitably face in the foreseeable future not so much stagnation as production cuts,” Insider reported.

Russian Missiles
A Russian anti-aircraft missile launcher S-300V operates during a show at the International Military Technical Forum Army 2022 on August 17, 2022, in Patriot Park, outside of Moscow, Russia. The Russian military could see massive arms shortages before the end of the year as it continues its military occupation of Ukraine.
Getty Images Europe

“It is possible that in 2022-2023, they will still be able to maintain the production rates gained in previous years, but in subsequent years, their decline is inevitable.”

It’s not the first time independent media has reported that Russia’s store of arms was declining. Reports in May questioned the depth of Russia’s supply of guided missiles as strikes in Ukraine began to decline entering the summer, while U.S. Department of Defense officials said as early as March that they believed Russian forces were seeing munitions supply issues.

In recent weeks, European intelligence officials have found that Russia has begun to import supplies from other sources. Bloomberg News reported that a Syrian-based merchant ship under U.S. sanctions managed to pass through Turkey’s Bosphorus Strait on the way to Russia late last month carrying military vehicles intended to bolster the war effort.

Other signs have pointed to continued struggles for the Russian military. The Insider’s pessimistic outlook for its prospects in the war comes roughly one week after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a new initiative seeking to beef up the country’s military ranks by 137,000 to 1.15 million troops, an effort to replace the estimated 60,000 to 80,000 Russian casualties in the war thus far.

U.S. Defense officials have cast doubt on Russia’s ability to achieve those goals, citing its already-anemic results in meeting previous recruitment goals as well as the relatively high level of conscripts involved in the war.

“In fact, if you look at the Russian armed forces, prior to the invasion, they may have already been 150,000 personnel short of their million personnel goal,” a senior U.S. Defense official quoted by the Pentagon told reporters this week.

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