Adm Sir Tony Radakin, Britain’s chief of defense staff, told an event hosted by the Royal United Services Institute thinktank on Wednesday that Russia had never intended the conflict in Ukraine to last this long, and that a “critical shortage” of artillery shells is one of a number of factors hurting the Kremlin’s chance of winning the conflict.
Radakin suggested that Russian President Vladimir Putin knows that the situation is dire and that he, along with his generals and ministers, are “afraid” to say it.
“Russia faces a critical shortage of artillery munitions. This means that their ability to conduct successful offensive ground operations is rapidly diminishing,” Radakin said.
The British defense official said that the fact Russia never planned for the war to last so long is the most obvious explanation for why Russia is struggling to replenish its supply of ammunition.
“There is no mystery as to why this is the case. Putin planned for a 30-day war, but the Russian guns have now been firing for almost 300 days. The cupboard is bare. Morally, conceptually and physically, Putin’s forces are running low,” Radakin said.
Ukraine War: Is He Right?
Radakin suggested that Russia running short on ammunition and other key supplies is an indicator that the Kremlin never expected the war to last this long. At face value, it makes sense – not only would Russian forces be in a better position right now had the Kremlin taken steps to increase supplies ahead of the war, but Russia also would not have been crippled by Western sanctions that make manufacturing arms almost impossible domestically.
However, it’s also true that, had Russia taken steps to manufacture more weapons and ammunition in the run-up to the conflict, Western countries may have implemented pre-emptive sanctions in anticipation of an invasion.
Russia Using 40-Year-Old Ammunition
Radakin’s comments come after it was revealed that Russian troops are now using decades-old ammunition in an effort to delay the use of what’s left of Russia’s remaining modern ammunition and grant more time to those working to secure more.
As 19FortyFive previously reported, an unnamed U.S. military official revealed on Monday how Russian troops are depending on some ammunition produced over 40 years ago.
“They have drawn from (Russia’s) aging ammunition stockpile, which does indicate that they are willing to use that older ammunition, some of which was originally produced more than 40 years ago,” the U.S. official said.
Jack Buckby is 19FortyFive’s Breaking News Editor.