A Russian shipyard is now unable to continue building ships or repair vessels as they do not have enough money to do so, according to the Ukrainian Intelligence Directorate (GUR). The shipyard in question, Vostochnaya Verf JSC, located in Vladivostok, is also experiencing supply chain interruptions of foreign components due to economic sanctions imposed on them in the west, which leaves these yards highly useless.
The Ukrainian Intelligence Directorate allegedly obtained a Russian Defense Ministry report outlining the hardships Russian shipyards were experiencing. One particular shipyard in Vladivostok could not complete a government order of two tankers and two missile boats worth 35 billion rubles due to hardships brought upon by the sanctions. They also could no longer maintain and repair Russian ships.
Furthermore, the lack of foreign components severely hampered the construction of new vessels. Such components include steering columns, navigation systems, naval warfare systems, charges for naval artillery shells, and radio stations.
“In particular, the AT “Vostočnâ Verfʹ” (Vladivostok/Vostochnaya Verf ) has to fulfill state orders for a total amount of 35 billion rubles. Including the construction and supply of two marine tankers, two small rocket ships, two moving maritime docks, repair and service of ships and boats of various types,” the Ukrainian intelligence agency claimed on Facebook.
According to them, all work has been “suspended” in the shipyard since the start of April 2022. Additionally, the majority of the staff have been “dismissed,” and the execution of contracts for orders has been canceled. The Russian shipyard has reportedly begun the bankruptcy procedures. These claims were not independently verified; however, they did post the documents that supposedly put some legitimacy to the claim. The authenticity of the documents could also not be verified as of writing.
The documents posted online supposedly indicates all the shortages of foreign components the shipyard is experiencing and that they cannot find Russian or Asian substitutes for the imported components. The production of powder charges for marine artillery was also stopped due to the shortage of parts and foreign components.
“The Russian military-industrial complex remains dependent on imported high technologies. Without the supply of which, Russia is unable to continue the production of modern weapons,” the Facebook post read.
Vostochnaya Verf JSC is the main supplier of ships for the maritime border forces of the Russian Navy. Specifically, according to their website, they supply to the Far East Fleet and Pacific Fleet of the Russian Navy through Rosoboronexport.
This development comes after Russia’s flagship of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, the Moskva, was allegedly sunk by the Ukrainians with two Neptune anti-ship missiles. However, the Russians claim that a fire broke out on board, and the fire had made ammunition explode, which led to its sinking. While they also claimed that the ship was still buoyant, Turkish and Romanian authorities reported that the cruiser had sunk around 0248 hours.
— Rob Lee (@RALee85) April 18, 2022
Along with the loss of the Moskva are the loss of its crew and captain. It was reported that Captain 1st Rank Kuprin Anton Valerievich had died during the explosion. The fate of the Moskva’s crew remains shrouded in mystery, with some intel suggesting that the majority of the sailors died with their captain and with the Russians claiming that there are many survivors.
The Russian government released a video allegedly showing survivors of the Moskva incident. It was shown that the Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Navy, Admiral Nikolay Yevmenov met up with the crew of the Moskva in Sevastopol. The video appears to be carefully scripted and edited.
SOFREP believes that the video might be fake as there is no way of knowing whether those shown in the video are the actual crew of the Moskva. The Russians could easily round up sailors(on a naval base) and have them stand-in for the lost crew. The video also purports to show Captain Kuprin(who is not identified in the video by Russian media), who is widely believed to be dead. However, SOFREP Editor-in-chief Sean Spoonts pointed out that the facial features of Kuprin, such as a mole on his left jaw, could be easily reproduced with a makeup pencil and should not be considered certain proof. Russians have a history of using political decoys, and could certainly use one for Captain Kuprin for whom there are few photos to use in comparison.
With all of these being mentioned, it is also important to emphasize that the Russians have been experiencing difficulty in supplying military equipment to replace losses in the field. For example, SOFREP was one of the media outlets that was first to report on Uralvagonzavod (Russia’s primary tank manufacturer) halting production due to the lack of foreign-made components. This makes it highly probable that its shipbuilding capabilities had also suffered the same problem.
It is not only the equipment production that has been hampered by the sanctions. Reports that the entire Russian defense industry has been taking a hit due to the sheer amount of Western sanctions. It was reported by the Ukrainian intelligence agency that the Zircon hypersonic cruise missile’s production was delayed due to a backlog of production demands and the loss of foreign components, as well as the rising cost of raw materials.
Due to these production stoppages, the Russians have allegedly been restoring old military vehicles to replace losses in the invasion. Furthermore, corruption within the factories and industries has hobbled the refurbishment because unknown individuals have stolen parts and entire engines. Below is a screen cap of Ukrainian troops inspecting captured Russian military explosives to discover that they are just woodblocks inside the packaging. This is what is being delivered to Russian troops in the field.
“Optical devices and electronics containing precious metals were stolen from the combat vehicles,” the GUR reported. The 4th Tank Division‘s backup tanks, the division that was obliterated in Ukraine, were reportedly completely dismantled, and no engines were found in the tanks.
With these developments, it is reasonable to question whether Russia can still sustain its offensive in the Donbas region, which was said to be launched earlier today. With thousands of their troops killed, hundreds of their military aircraft and vehicles destroyed, and their production chain halted, the Russians may be risking all they have on the supposed “liberation” of Donbas.