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Kremlin orders more munitions production as Russian troops 'running out of ammo'

A Ukrainian army sniper looks on near Bakhmut, Donetsk region, Ukraine, Tuesday, May 2, 2023.
A Ukrainian army sniper looks on near Bakhmut, Donetsk region, Ukraine, Tuesday, May 2, 2023. Copyright AP
Copyright AP
By Euronews with AP
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Kremlin orders more munitions production as Russian troops 'running out of ammo'

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Russia’s defense chief has urged a state company to double its missile output, as a possible Ukrainian counteroffensive looms and both sides in the 14-month war reportedly feel an ammunition crunch.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, speaking at a meeting with top military brass on Tuesday, said the state-owned Tactical Missiles Corporation had been fulfilling its contracts in a timely manner.

But, Shoigu added, “right now it is necessary to double the production of high-precision weapons in the shortest possible time.”

Analysts have been trying to figure out whether Russia is running low on high-precision ammunition, as its missile barrages against Ukraine have become less frequent and smaller in scale.

The UK defense ministry noted in an assessment Tuesday that “logistics problems remain at the heart of Russia’s struggling campaign in Ukraine.”

“Russia does not have enough munitions to achieve success on the offensive,” it said.

UK military intelligence has also raised the issue of whether Russian Deputy Defence Minister Colonel General Mikhail Mizintsev had been dismissed. He had only been in his job for the last eight months and held the military logistics porfolio. 

"Speculation about his future highlights how logistics problems remain at the heart of Russia’s struggling campaign in Ukraine. Russia does not have enough munitions to achieve success on the offensive," said the Ministry of Defence. 

"Paucity of ammunition drives internal divisions, most notably between Russia’s Ministry of Defence and Wagner Group."

AP/Russian Defense Ministry Press Service
Russian Defence Minister, 2 May 2023AP/Russian Defense Ministry Press Service

Ukraine forces get ready for counteroffensive

Meanwhile Ukrainian forces say they are readying their own counteroffensive -- and stockpiling ammunition to sustain it along potentially long supply lines.

Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said Monday that the “key things” for the assault’s success were “the availability of weapons, prepared, trained people, our defenders and defenders who know their plan at their level, as well as providing this offensive with all the necessary things -- shells, ammunition, fuel, protection, etc.”

“As of today, we are entering the home stretch, when we can say: ‘Yes, everything is ready’,” Reznikov said in televised comments.

Also Tuesday, Denmark said it was donating 1.7 billion kroner (€228 millin) in aid to Ukraine, including mine clearance vehicles, munition, field bridges and money for air defense that will be needed for a counteroffensive against Russian forces that are dug in behind multilayered defensive lines, including hundreds of kilometres of trenches.

”We know that the Russians have entrenched themselves in the occupied territories of Ukraine with trenches, minefields and other obstacles to stop a Ukrainian offensive,” acting Danish Defense Minister Troels Lund Poulsen said.

“The material in the donation package is important to pave the way for Ukrainian tanks and the armored infantry in the front line.”

In recent months, amid winter weather, the conflict has become bogged down in a war of attrition that has depleted ammunition stocks.

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