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Russia not producing enough ammunition for its war in Ukraine, Western officials say

Russia not producing enough ammunition for its war in Ukraine, Western officials say

Vladimir Putin still wants to fully conquer Ukraine and carry out regime change in the belief that Russia’s greater numbers in weaponry and soldiers will prevail at the end, according to Western officials.

However, Moscow cannot produce enough arms and ammunition domestically to meet the needs of the war, say the officials, due to sanctions denying access to Western components, raising costs and causing severe delays.

The assessment comes after recent gains by Russia in the battlefield, most significant of which was the capture of the town of Avdiivka in the Donbas. Moscow is currently in control of a fifth of Ukraine including the separatist republics in the east and Crimea.

“We do not believe Russia has given up on its maximalist goals of subjugating Ukraine”, said a senior official as the war enters its third year. But, at the same time, international restrictions are having a huge adverse effect on developing new systems and repairing old ones, he added. This, in turn, will have “long-term consequences for the quality of weapons produced.”

Such are the “extreme challenges” in obtaining sufficient equipment and ammunition for its Ukraine that Russia “has been requisitioning military equipment originally intended for delivery to foreign powers”.

This is believed to refer to a statement by an Indian parliamentary committee in March last year which revealed that the Indian Air Force will not receive an expected “major delivery” of spare parts for Su-30MKI and Mig-29 fighter jets. India has, however, had similar problems with weapons orders it had in place with Ukraine not being delivered following the Russian invasion of the country in February 2022.

Russia, meanwhile, has significantly increased imports of missiles and drones from Iran and North Korea.

Last October, Joe Biden’s administration said as many as 1,000 North Korean shipping containers bearing “equipment and munitions” had been sent to Russia “in recent weeks”. The American reports were corroborated by the Royal United Services Institute (Rusi), think tank in London which said: “Russia has likely begun shipping North Korean munitions at scale.”

US security analysts also say that Iran has supplied hundreds of missiles, including short-range ballistic ones, to Moscow, including Fateh-110s which can hit targets at a distance of between 185 and 435 miles.

It comes as EU countries agreed on a new package of sanctions against Russia to target individuals and businesses suspected of assisting Moscow in its war against Ukraine, the list contains nearly 200 entities and individuals. Belgium, which currently holds the rotating presidency of the 27-nation bloc, said the “package is one of the broadest approved by the EU”.