Sanctions hobble Russian defense industry production of tanks, missiles, jets - GUR

Supposed Russian Defense Ministry documents say the Kremlin is collecting data on the status of government defense contracts and on disruption "associated with rising prices for the raw materials."

A Russian MIG 29 flies at the Dubai Air show, November 20, 2005. (photo credit: REUTERS)
A Russian MIG 29 flies at the Dubai Air show, November 20, 2005.
(photo credit: REUTERS)

The Russian defense industry is unable to meet its production contracts for munitions and vehicles that are vital to its invasion of Ukraine because of sanctions and the consequent rising cost of raw materials and components, the Ukrainian Intelligence Directorate (GUR) alleged on Tuesday.

Supposed Russian Defense Ministry documents GUR claimed to have obtained say that the Kremlin is collecting data on the status of government defense contracts and disruption "associated with rising prices for the raw materials and components used."

The Ukrainian intelligence body assessed that Russia has relied on foreign technology and electronics to produce modern military equipment, and sanctions have limited the supply of those items, in addition to driving up costs.

One such advanced weapon, the Zircon hypersonic cruise missile, was announced to have had its production delayed on March 20, but this was attributed to a backlog of production demands. 

Due to the loss of key foreign components and costly raw materials, Russia may have to produce older components and vehicles — in the case of one factory, equipment allegedly developed from as far back as the 1960s — instead of modern gear GUR claimed. 

 A Russian Air Force MiG-31 fighter jet releases Kinzhal hypersonic missile during a drill in an unknown location in Russia, in this still image taken from video released February 19, 2022. (credit: RUSSIAN DEFENSE MINISTRY/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS) A Russian Air Force MiG-31 fighter jet releases Kinzhal hypersonic missile during a drill in an unknown location in Russia, in this still image taken from video released February 19, 2022. (credit: RUSSIAN DEFENSE MINISTRY/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)

On Saturday, the directorate also claimed that Russia was attempting to restore preexisting old vehicles to replace losses suffered during its invasion of Ukraine but it is encountering difficulty in doing so because of corruption and the poor condition of the equipment.

The Ukrainian Intelligence Directorate alleged that corruption had been a major reason for the "extremely unsatisfactory" condition of the equipment being taken out of storage.

"Optical devices and electronics containing precious metals were stolen from the combat vehicles," said GUR. The intelligence body reported that many of the 4th Tank Division's stored tanks were "completely dismantled," and that some did not have engines.

Corruption in the Russian defense establishment has also played a role in the development of munitions. According to Politico in 2012, a Russian arms company embezzled millions of dollars meant for a missile interception system. In 2016, a company embezzled funds for navigation and control systems for high-precision ammunition.

The Ukrainian military claimed on Wednesday morning that Russia had lost 605 tanks, 1,723 armored vehicles, 305 artillery pieces, 96 multiple launch rocket systems, 131 aircraft, 131 helicopters, 1,184 other ground vehicles, 7 ships, 75 fuel tanks and 81 drones.

In contrast, open-source intelligence group Oryx, which has been documenting war losses with visual media verification, by Sunday identified hundreds of Russian vehicle losses, including 300 tanks, 218 armored fighting vehicles, 294 infantry fighting vehicles, 76 armored personnel carriers, 12 mine-resistant ambush-protected (MRAP) vehicles, 65 infantry mobility vehicles, 60 engineering items, 98 artillery pieces, 33 MLRS, 11 Anti-aircraft systems, 40 surface-to-air systems, and 621 other ground vehicles.

Ukraine's armed forces have claimed in operational reports throughout the week that the Russian military was attempting to reorganize, resupply, and replace lost equipment and vehicles. The Russian military has suffered logistical issues throughout the war, according to Western and Ukrainian intelligence estimates.