Russia scours worldwide for weapons to wage war in Ukraine
Despite initially having a significant advantage in terms of range, weaponry, and equipment, the Russian army faced unexpected challenges and losses
Military and political observer Oleksandr Kovalenko analyzed how Russia sources weapon supplies.
The Russian generals who planned the invasion of Ukraine likely did not anticipate that, just a few months into the war, they would find themselves seeking assistance from other nations to sustain the war. The gap between the capabilities of the Ukrainian and Russian armies was revealed to be ten times greater in favor of Russia at the start of the invasion. Despite initially having a significant advantage in terms of range, weaponry, and equipment, the Russian army faced unexpected challenges and losses.
Recognizing the need for international support, Russia began a diplomatic campaign in late May and early June 2022, seeking countries willing to aid in the delivery of combat-ready equipment and ammunition. The high level of losses prompted the Russian military-industrial complex to rapidly produce mechanized components, but production capacity was insufficient to meet the demand.
Military aid from neighbors
The situation with ammunition became critical as the initial abundance in February and March dwindled, and the daily firing rate dropped. Russia turned to the CSTO countries for the supply of Soviet-style ammunition and equipment. Belarus, reciprocating the request, granted the Russian army access to warehouses and storage centers.
Belarus emerged as a significant donor, exporting tens of thousands of tons of ammunition, including artillery systems and tanks, to Russia in support of its war against Ukraine. Other countries, such as Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan, received requests for military support. While Kyrgyzstan refused, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan increased their supplies of cotton pulp, crucial for ammunition production, to Russia.
Supplies from Iran, North Korea, and Myanmar
In addition to support from neighboring countries, Russia secured stable assistance from Iran, receiving “kamikaze” drones and various military products. Requests were also made to North Korea, resulting in the provision of a range of ammunition and means of destruction, albeit with reported dissatisfaction regarding quality.
Surprisingly, India and Myanmar, countries rarely mentioned in the context of supporting Russian aggression, supplied military goods, including night vision sights and ammunition, to Russia.
The overall picture paints a stark contrast to Russia's historical military strength. The nation, once boasting one of the largest armies globally, now finds itself seeking assistance from unconventional sources to sustain the war in Ukraine. As the war continues to drain Russia's resources, it faces a decline in military potential not seen since the collapse of the USSR.
The future trajectory suggests that, if hostilities persist at the current intensity, Russia may deplete its legacy of Soviet-era resources and enter a phase of irreversible decline.