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Russia Rushes to Ramp Up Weapons Production for Ukraine War

Russian President Vladimir Putin, facing military production delays and mounting battlefield losses, urged his government to cut red tape to produce enough weapons and supplies to feed his troops in Ukraine, where a Ukrainian counteroffensive has put the Russian forces at a disadvantage.

The Russian military’s supply shortage in the eight-month war has been so pronounced that Putin had to create a structure to try to address it.

On Tuesday, Putin chaired a new committee designed to speed up the production and delivery of weapons and supplies to Russian troops, stressing the need to “gain a greater pace in all areas.”

Russian news reports have acknowledged that many of those mobilized to fight in Ukraine (a figure the Russian president said was 222,000 out of an initial target of 300,000) have not received adequate basic equipment, such as medical kits and bulletproof vests, and They’ve had to find their own supplies.

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Last week, Putin tried to show that all was well by visiting a training site in Russia where he was shown well-equipped soldiers.

Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with a service member as Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu looks on with other officers at a training camp in the Ryazan region, Russia.
Russian President Vladimir Putin inspects the progress of mobilized service members at a Western Military District training camp in the Ryazan region, Russia, on October 20, 2022. [Mikhael Klimentyev/Sputnik/Kremlin pool/EPA-EFE]

Other reports have suggested that Russian troops are increasingly being forced to use old and sometimes unreliable equipment, and that some of the newly mobilized troops have been moved to the front lines with little training.

To replace the dwindling Russian-made long-range precision weapons, the UK Defense Ministry said Russia is now likely to resort to using large numbers of drones to try to penetrate Ukraine’s air defences.

Russia’s “artillery ammunition is running out,” the ministry said in a report on Tuesday.

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The Washington, DC-based Institute for the Study of War said that “the slower pace of Russian air, missile and drone strikes likely reflects declining missile and drone stockpiles and the limited effectiveness of attacks to achieve Russian strategic military objectives.

Despite supply problems, Russia’s military has inflicted massive damage and heavy casualties on Ukraine, destroying houses, public buildings, and Ukraine’s power grid. The World Bank estimates the damage to Ukraine so far at 350 billion euros ($348 billion).

According to the United Nations, from the start of the Russian invasion on February 24 to the beginning of October, 15,246 civilian casualties were recorded in Ukraine. Of them, 6,114 people died and 9,132 were injured. Some 7.7 million Ukrainians have fled the country and now live as refugees across Europe, according to the UN.

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New UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak promised Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Tuesday that his country’s support for Ukraine would be unwavering and “as strong as ever under his watch,” a Downing Street spokesman said.

Sunak’s predecessors, Boris Johnson and Liz Truss, loudly promised full support to the war-torn country and the new prime minister said UK military assistance would be as “strong as ever” under his leadership.

“The prime minister said… President Zelenskyy could count on his government to stand in solidarity,” the spokesman said.

Zelenskyy said in his late-night video address that he had invited Sunak to visit Ukraine.

A senior Ukrainian official predicted late Tuesday that “the toughest battle” is yet to come for the strategic southern province of Kherson, partly occupied by Russia, where he said Moscow’s army is digging in to face Ukraine’s counteroffensive. .

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The region’s capital city and river port of Kherson, which had a pre-war population of around 280,000, is the largest urban center Russia still has since it was captured early in the invasion of Ukraine eight years ago. months.

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Ukrainian forces do not appear to have gained much ground in their counteroffensive in the Kherson region since early October.

“With Kherson everything is clear. The Russians are picking themselves up, strengthening their grouping there,” Oleksiy Arestovych, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, said in an online video Tuesday night.

“It means that no one is preparing to retire. On the contrary, the toughest battle will take place for Kherson,” according to Arestovych, who did not say when the battle might take place.

One of Moscow’s allies on Tuesday urged Russia to speed up the pace and scale of Ukraine’s destruction.

Ramzan Kadyrov, the Chechnya regional leader who sent troops to fight in Ukraine, urged Moscow to annihilate entire cities in retaliation for Ukraine’s shelling of Russian territory.

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“Our response has been too weak,” Kadyrov said on his messaging app’s channel.

“If a shell flies into our region, entire cities need to be wiped off the face of the Earth so they never think they can fire in our direction,” he said.

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