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Russia’s missile supply shortage hinders military operations in Ukraine

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Russia appears to be grappling with a significant missile supply problem, according to a recent report by the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), raising concerns about the country’s ability to sustain its military operations in Ukraine, which have been ongoing for the past 18 months.

The ISW, a U.S.-based think tank, released its latest analysis on Wednesday, shedding light on the challenges Russia faces in replenishing its missile inventory amid the prolonged conflict initiated by President Vladimir Putin. Both Ukrainian and Russian sources have reported that Russia’s defense industrial base (DIB) is encountering “growing challenges” in replacing basic supplies, in addition to the “known challenges in rebuilding its stocks of precision weapons.”

Ukrainian Main Military Intelligence (GUR) Representative Andriy Yusov emphasized that Russia can only produce a limited number of Kalibr cruise missiles and Iskander missiles each month, with production capacity only in the “dozens.” This production rate falls far short of what Russia would need to fully replenish its pre-2022 missile stocks, as highlighted by the ISW.

The situation has unfolded against the backdrop of Ukraine’s ongoing counteroffensive aimed at reclaiming its territory, with particularly intense clashes occurring along the front lines in the Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia regions. Despite indications that Russia’s missile stockpile is running low, Moscow continues to launch large-scale missile strikes against Ukraine.

In a tragic incident on Wednesday afternoon, Russia carried out its deadliest strike on a Ukrainian civilian target since January. A bustling market street in Kostyantynivka, located in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region, was targeted, resulting in the loss of at least 17 lives, including that of a child.

Recent evidence further supports the notion of a dwindling Russian missile supply. Last month, Bloomberg reported that Ukrainian forces had recovered a recently manufactured, undetonated Russian missile in Ukraine’s northern Sumy province. This discovery suggested that Moscow’s stockpile of advanced weapons, including precision-guided missiles and rockets, was running dangerously low. Pictures analyzed by StateWatch, a Ukrainian non-governmental organization, and Bloomberg revealed that the missile had been produced just weeks before its use, a departure from the norm, as missiles typically undergo several months of testing before being deployed on the front lines.

The apparent shortage of missiles is raising questions about the sustainability of Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine, as the country’s ability to continue large-scale missile strikes becomes increasingly uncertain in the face of supply constraints.

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