Russia has been forced to issue old ammunition that was previously declared unfit for use, says UK intel, deepening its struggles in Ukraine

  • Russia is issuing old military stock that was previously seen as unfit for use, UK intelligence said.
  • It’s so low on ammo that many places on the front now have “extremely punitive shell-rationing.” 
  • This is likely a key reason why Russia’s new offensive hasn’t progressed, the MOD said. 

Russia has been forced to issue old ammunition that was previously categorised as unfit for use, with its army dealing with major munition shortages in Ukraine, according to UK intelligence.

The UK Ministry of Defence said in an intelligence update on Tuesday that Russia “has almost certainly already resorted to issuing old munitions stock which were previously categorised as unfit for use.”

It said that shortages in artillery ammunition over the last few weeks “have likely worsened to the extent that extremely punitive shell-rationing is in force on many parts of the front.”

This likely explains why Russia has not made any significant gains since it started its long-awaited offensive earlier this spring, the MOD said. 

It is also “almost certainly” a key reason why no Russian formation has recently been able to generate operationally significant offensive action, the MOD said.

The UK ministry added that Russia’s government has been intervening with defense companies that are not meeting their production quotas.

This shows Russia is “increasingly applying the principles of a command economy to its military industrial complex” because it knows that its defence manufacturing capacity is a key vulnerability in its efforts in Ukraine, it said.

Russia has been using aged equipment throughout its invasion of Ukraine, which started in February 2022, including some equipment that dates back to the Soviet Union.

This includes taking Soviet-era tanks out of storage to fight, as it suffers heavy losses of its tanks, and using less-accurate Soviet-era missiles.

The UK MOD said earlier this month that Russia has been showing off advanced military technology around the world, at the same time that its soldiers in Ukraine are forced to rely on old equipment.

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