Military supplies are running out on both sides but Russia retains the advantage | Ukraine

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It has been a month since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine, and the intensity of the first phase of the fighting has been such that both sides in the conflict have increasingly depleted their stocks of ammunition and other supplies. military.

But while Ukraine is ready to claim that the Russian invaders have only three days of supplies left, while warning that its own troops lack anti-tank and anti-aircraft systems, the reality is hard to gauge.

“Resupply issues are difficult to assess, as both sides keep this information close at hand due to operational security concerns,” said Nick Reynolds, land warfare specialist at think tank Rusi.

Ukraine is particularly concerned that it lacks Western-supplied weapons that have helped it destroy Russian tanks and planes.

kyiv’s military requested a massive number of additional weapons ahead of Thursday’s NATO summit and secured a commitment from Britain to send 5,000 more missiles.

It is also clear that Russia is suffering from serious logistical constraints which have forced it to abandon its clearly over-optimistic plan to simultaneously encircle kyiv and Kharkiv and attack from the south and east.

Western officials believe he lost the ability to conduct a multi-axis offensive, partly because of resupply problems, but also because of the casualties he suffered – between 7,000 and 10,000 – and he now just focuses on trying to capture Mariupol with a brutal, long-lasting bombardment.

An important sign of the extent of Russia’s difficulties will be whether Ukraine can mount an effective counterattack in the Irpin region northwest of the capital, which has seen some of the deadliest fighting in almost the start of the war.

“If the first reports of a Ukrainian counter-offensive in the Irpin region turn out to be correct, it will be a key indicator that the Russian supply problems along the axis of advance from kyiv have not been corrected, although casualties, low morale and poor operational coordination will also have played a role,” Reynolds said.

The prevailing view, however, remains that the advantage belongs to the aggressor. “Russia retains, overall, large reserves of materiel and personnel on which it can draw,” said a Western source, speaking on condition of anonymity. But supply routes are complicated for some of the invading forces, especially those in the easternmost districts of Russia.

Ukraine’s problem is more serious. The country’s arms industry was already much smaller than Russia’s, and many of its industrial areas to the east were badly damaged by the war. This is long-term damage, which, judging by Moscow’s disregard for civilian casualties, was probably partly deliberate.

kyiv, for most key military hardware, is now entirely dependent on a steady and continuous flow of supplies from the west to counter Russia’s ability to mass tanks and air power against the defenders. and people of Ukraine. But these high-end weapons can easily be used in war much faster than they can be crafted.

As for weapons and ammunition, this could mean that a longer fight is to Russia’s advantage, if the Kremlin is willing to continue to tolerate high casualties. Unfortunately, Vladimir Putin seems willing to do just that.

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