Russia has turned to North Korea in the matter of “buying ammunition,” Pentagon press secretary Brigadier General Pat Ryder said, with the press secretary adding that the request sent to North Korea “indicates where Russia stands.”
“We assess that things are not going well on this front for Russia. The fact that they are turning to North Korea is a sign that they are facing challenges on the logistics front,” he added.
Ammunition supply will be one of the most critical factors in Russia’s ability to sustain its war in Ukraine, U.S. officials say. According to them, it was difficult to assess the level of Russia’s ammunition stockpile during the war.
The items purchased from North Korea suggest that some Russian supplies are running low. U.S. intelligence, for example, says artillery shells and missiles are in short supply after artillery barrages have pounded Ukrainian cities over the past six months.
However, the shortage of ammunition has not yet reached alarming proportions — according to American officials. At the same time, in the case of large-caliber, multiple missile launch systems, small-caliber artillery systems, and some types of precision-guided weapons, the shortage can be particularly serious, says the director of the Center for Naval Analyzes’ Russia program, Michael Kofman. He added that it will take time for Russia to significantly ramp up its production to meet the needs of the war, which the Russian defense industry clearly did not expect.
Russia earlier this year restricted access to information about its budget, including import and export data. The news blackout is a key indicator that Russia has been forced to divert funding and other resources to the conflict — a fact it wants to hide from the public.
Russia has also faced a serious setback on its northeastern front, with its armed forces effectively withdrawing from a number of key cities and settlements near Kharkiv, including the key transport hub of Izyum. Ukrainian forces are making rapid advances, which have resulted in the capture of Russian soldiers, equipment, and ammunition. Ukrainian forces have also made limited gains in the Kherson region in the south.
The Kremlin continues to insist that it is not waging a war, but only a limited “special military operation.”