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AK 47 cartridges from China, Pakistan and Russia. (Source: Todd Huffman/Wikimedia)
Russia’s having a supply problem yet again. Even with the Iranian support on missiles, their troops are still exhausting ammo faster than they can resupply. To put a band-aid fix on the issue, Russians are now turning to their 40-year-old ammunition stock for help.
A senior US military official told Reuters that Russia’s ammo rounds are actually exhausted.
“They have drawn from (Russia’s) aging ammunition stockpile, which does indicate that they are willing to use that older ammunition, some of which was originally produced more than 40 years ago,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“In other words, you load the ammunition, and you cross your fingers and hope it’s going to fire or when it lands that it’s going to explode,” they told Reuters.
The senior military official said his analysis of the scenario is that Russia would burn through its stockpile of fully-serviceable ammunition by early 2023 if they do not have older ammunition stock and import from other countries.
“So, this essentially puts Russian forces in a position to have to make a choice about what risks it’s willing to accept in terms of increased failure rates, unpredictable performance, and whether or not these degraded conditions [of older ammunition] would require any type of refurbishment, which of course requires a certain amount of expertise and time,” the official said.
With the speed Russia is using its ammo, they could be trying to end the war by early next year, precisely because of this reason. Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines, also shared her analysis of the Russian strategy and said that they really are exhausting their ammo “quite quickly.”
“I don’t think I can give you precise numbers in this forum. But quite quickly. I mean, it’s really pretty extraordinary.”
“And our own sense is that they are not capable of indigenously producing what they are expending at this stage.
So that is going to be a challenge.”
#Ukraine: Weapons captured from the Russian VDV troops as a result of yesterday's attack in Hostomel – 2x AK-12, AK-74, AK-74M assault rifles, PKP "Pecheneg" machine gun, GM-94 pump action grenade launcher and modernized SV-98 sniper rifle. pic.twitter.com/KeDZbdwZEK
“They are giving them at best basics and at worst nothing and throwing them into combat, which suggests that these guys are just literally cannon fodder,” said William Alberque, a specialist in the Russian armed forces and the director of the arms control program at the International Institute for Strategic Studies.
So, when you have soldiers whose hearts are not really invested in the war and were set to have a fight or flight mentality, you end up with troops whose main defense is to hide behind ammo rounds, albeit rather poorly.
“Such a number of personnel increased the threat for us, and these are not just words — these are new brigades, new battalions that have been trained, this is the replenishment that the Army was waiting for because it was exhausted.
Meanwhile, Russia has reportedly increased its military spending by 40 percent since the war began, reaching up to 1.7 trillion roubles ($26.4 billion). The country will use the National Wealth Fund (NWF) to support the decline in oil and gas revenues.
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