Despite a 70% increase in the national defence budget for 2024 and a concerted government effort to increase productivity in key defence industries, the nation is struggling to keep Russian troops in Ukraine properly supplied, according to a broadcast interview given to RBC-Ukraine by Major General Vadym Skibitskyi, Deputy Head of the MoD Intelligence Directorate.
Almost 10.8 trillion rubles (approx. USD120 billion) will be spent on ‘national defence’ budget lines, with a further 3.3 billion rubles dedicated to ‘national security’. Yet even with this and a very significant effort to boost manufacturing rates and quality, supplies still lag behind demand by a considerable margin for basic defence articles – and current evidence is that more sophisticated systems, such as adequate EW defences, are available at so low a scale of issue as to be virtually non-existent. This appears to be particularly true with reference to air defence ancillaries, such as electronic warfare systems, which has an obvious effect on counter-UAS capabilities.
Skribitskyi stated that the principal efforts are dedicated to repairing battle-damaged equipment; preparation of systems taken from long-term storage; production of new artillery systems and armoured vehicles; and manufacture of ammunition and missiles. In the latter category, the two million or so artillery munitions of 122 and 152mm calibres produced in Russian factories last year is woefully short of the armed forces consumption. North Korean shells and rockets are being seen in Ukraine in increasing numbers, though reports are scathing as to their quality, reliability and – in particular – their accuracy.
Industry’s problems are further exacerbated by being forced to use outdated equipment in many cases, a chronic shortage of skilled labour and an even worse shortage of components. Russia’s capacity to build weapons and equipment represents a clear and present danger to Ukraine, but Skribitskyi and his collages are sanguine about the nation’s capacity for resistance. Russia, unsurprisingly, remains adamant that its industrial structures and capacities are adequate to the task. Perhaps only time will tell which viewpoint more closely reflects reality.
For more information: Defence Intelligence of Ukraine (gur.gov.ua)
(Image: Vadym Skibitskyi is Deputy Head of the Main Intelligence Directorate for the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine. Credit: Ukraine MoD)