The citizens of Ukraine ended the year 2022 to the sounds of multiple and widespread alarms throughout the country – following extensive bombings by the Russian army, including at night (between Saturday and Sunday). At least one person was killed yesterday and more than 20 were injured in the series of bombings by the Russians on Kyiv and other cities, and further damage to the electricity and energy infrastructure in the country. Despite this, the bombing yesterday was much smaller than the usual Russian bombings by the Russians on Ukraine – in another hint that may point to the predicament that Moscow has been in recently.Ukraine’s security forces reported yesterday that the Russians launched 31 missiles and 13 drones – a much lower amount than the amount of ammunition that the Russians usually fire in attacks on Ukraine. In an attack carried out earlier this weekend, the Russians launched less than 70 cruise missiles – and most of them were successfully intercepted by the Ukrainian defense systems. In addition, tonight they managed to intercept 32 “aerial targets” in Ukraine – mainly drones made in Iran.
Sounds of explosions that could be heard by residents of #Kyiv on New Year’s Eve. pic.twitter.com/xPIBhLCBxj
— NEXTA (@nexta_tv) January 1, 2023
The latest Russian attacks in Ukraine are smaller and more limited than many other attacks carried out over the past few months, in which more than 100 missiles were launched on several different occasions in each attack. The reduction in the amount of munitions used in each attack comes against the background of claims by officials in the Ukrainian security system that Russia is very close to a severe shortage of its ammunition stocks, especially in the field of missiles. For many months, Ukraine and the West have been claiming that Russia is close to exhausting its missile stocks, but recently they claimed in Kiev that Russia has enough ammunition left “for only 3.2 more attacks”.
It is still difficult to determine whether the series of recent attacks in Ukraine can teach about the depth of the Russian armaments crisis. Yesterday, British intelligence estimated that the Russians may “exceed” the time intervals between their attacks in Ukraine – in order to attack on New Year’s Eve “and hurt the spirit of the citizens in Ukraine”. Accordingly, it is possible that the attacks of the last day were only intended to transmit a purely symbolic message. At the same time, the latest Ukrainian attack on the Russian air force base is also possible Engels-2 In the Stratov district she managed to disrupt the attacks.
At the same time, even on the battlefield, far from Kiev and the other cities in the Ukrainian hinterland, a severe armament shortage is evident for the Russians. The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) this morning quotes senior officials in Ukraine’s military intelligence who say that there has been a dramatic drop in the amount of shells and artillery ammunition that Russia fires every day on the fighting front in the east.
Russian forces are likely depleting their stocks of artillery ammunition and will struggle to support their current pace of operations in certain sectors of the frontline in #Ukraine as a result. https://t.co/MPlZyTvOVL https://t.co/FuD17031yZ
— ISW (@TheStudyofWar) January 1, 2023
Kirill Budnov, the head of military intelligence in Ukraine, reported yesterday that until recently the Russians fired an average of 60,000 artillery shells and bombs along the front line in eastern Ukraine, and especially in the fighting sector in the city of Akhmat in Donetsk. On the other hand, over the past few days, it has been recognized in Ukraine that the Russians do not fire more than 20-19 thousand artillery shells and bombs per day, only.
Bodnov says that this points to a distinct Russian armament crisis, which is only expected to grow in the near future. According to him, in March the Russians are expected to face a further deterioration in their armed situation. He also added that recently the Russians transferred a large amount of artillery ammunition from weapons depots in Belarus – in order to deal with the problem.
B-ISW It is estimated that the shortage of ammunition of the Russian forces will at least partially prevent them from carrying out high-intensity attacks on the battlefield. According to the assessment, a significant change may be manifested in the Bakhmut sector, which in recent months has become the main scene of conflict between the armies of Russia and Ukraine, and claims the lives of dozens and hundreds of people every day.
Since the war began, Russia has experienced a major crisis in the arms production and development industry – against the background of the heavy Western sanctions imposed on it. As a result of the sanctions, Russia is unable to import critical electronic components for missile production, despite several successful attempts to circumvent the sanctions against it.
In order to deal with the ammunition shortage – Russia has begun importing armed suicide drones from Iran, and the West believes that it is also preparing to purchase ballistic missiles from Iran, although so far there has been no indication that such a deal has actually come to fruition. In the meantime, in recent weeks it has been reported in Washington that a group Russia’s Wagner, which is fighting Bakhmut, purchased missiles and rockets from North Korea for the war in Ukraine, and the White House expressed the fear that there may be more similar deals.