Saturday, April 20, 2024

Russia producing three times more artillery shells than NATO: Report

Moscow is producing three times more artillery shells than Kiev’s military backers, CNN has reported, citing Western intelligence estimates.

At the current rate, defense plants in Russia can churn out roughly three million munitions per year, compared to the 1.2 million that the US and its allies in the EU can make and provide to Kiev over the same period, the news network was told.

With artillery proving crucial for the large-scale positional warfare of the Ukraine conflict, Moscow is “mounting a significant advantage on the battlefield,” one NATO source said. Russia has “put everything they have in the game,” the senior European intelligence official told CNN.

“Their war machine works in full gear.”

Analysts expect Russian military production to reach its peak sometime next year. President Vladimir Putin has an advantage over the “capitalist nations” that are backing Kiev in terms of ramping up the defense sector, because he is an “autocrat,” the report claimed. But “the West will have more sustaining power” in the long run, Lt. Gen. Steven Basham, the deputy commander of US European Command, told CNN.

Russia has a capitalist economic system, but its defense sector is largely state-owned. NATO analysts estimate that it currently employs 3.5 million people, up from somewhere between 2 million and 2.5 million before hostilities in Ukraine erupted in 2022, according to the report.

The Russian government has hailed the military production boost as one of its key achievements in the confrontation with the West. It considers a shortage of manpower as the key factor limiting Kiev’s frontline capability.

“Additional military hardware can certainly be delivered, but the mobilization reserve is not unlimited,” Putin noted last June, amid Ukrainian attempts to push against Russian defensive positions.

“It seems Ukraine’s Western allies are indeed prepared to wage the war to the last Ukrainian.”

As of late February, the Russian Defense Ministry estimates Ukrainian military losses at over 444,000 troops.

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