Sergei Shoigu, the Russian Defense Minister, has informed senators that the Russian Federation’s military forces in the special operations zone receive daily supplies of ammunition and fuel, ranging from 10,000 to 15,000 tons. This briefing was held at the Ministry of Defense at the request of Shoigu and was attended by Valentina Matviyenko, the Federation Council Chairman, and members of the Federation Council’s Defense and Security Committee. Shoigu emphasized to the senators the magnitude of the responsibilities that the Russian Armed Forces undertake during this special military operation.
“To understand the scale, we deliver 1.5 thousand tons of water to the armed forces every day – that’s just drinking water. We do approximately 350 tons of laundry a day. That means you have to understand that this doesn’t happen in one place. This is on a huge front line, which, if we take it in total, is more than 1,000 km,” said Shoigu while noting, “all this, of course, must be managed, delivering up to 10 thousand per day to the armed forces and there are up to 15 thousand tons of different types of materials per day. These are ammunition and fuel. Everything related to equipment repair and maintenance.”
Shoigu, the Russian Defense Minister, underscored the critical role of industry in addressing challenges. He highlighted the remarkable efforts of young individuals, unrelated to the defense industry, who have managed to boost production within a month. The meeting concluded on a positive note, with Matvienko expressing gratitude for the collaborative effort and constructive discussion.
In a separate development, there are indications of substantial artillery shell deliveries from North Korea to Russia. The Ukraine Weapons Tracker account has released images showing 122-mm and 152-mm shells. This revelation raises questions about the extent and intensity of collaboration between these two nations.
Estonian news outlet ERR.ee reported that Ants Kiviselg, head of the Estonian Defense Forces’ intelligence center, confirmed that Russia has received 350,000 ammunition units from North Korea. Given Russia’s daily consumption of approximately 10,000 units, this supply could last just over a month. This suggests that North Korea could potentially be a regular supplier of artillery shells to Russia, although the specifics of this partnership remain unclear.
Estonian intelligence has also revealed that Russia currently holds 4 million artillery rounds, enough to sustain a low-intensity conflict for a year. This finding calls for an in-depth analysis of its impact on the regional military resource balance.
Open-source intelligence analyst @HerrDr8 has shared data showing a significant decrease in the daily expenditure of artillery rounds by Russian forces. The usage rate has dropped to an all-time low since February 2022, averaging 7,000 rounds per day. At this rate, without considering future supplies, Russia’s existing ammunition reserves would be depleted within an estimated 19 months. If daily usage increases to 10,000 rounds, the reserves could last up to 13 months.
However, it would be premature to assume based on this estimated timeline that Russia will run out of munitions within a year. This calculation does not take into account potential future supplies and Russia’s domestic ammunition production capabilities.
Reports from Western media in September indicated that the Russian Federation has set an undisclosed timeline to boost its annual artillery ammunition production to 2 million units. Currently, Russia has the capacity to produce between 1 to 1.5 million artillery rounds annually, which equates to 83,000 to 125,000 rounds per month.
In contrast, the United States, the primary provider of artillery rounds to Ukraine, produces 28,000 155-millimeter units per month. However, plans are underway to increase this figure to 100,000 units per month, or 1.2 million units annually by 2026.
France recently announced its intention to triple its ammunition exports to Ukraine. This commitment is evident in the significant increase from 1,000 units in January 2023 to a projected 3,000 by January 2024.
Budanov, the chief of the GUR MOU, highlighted a concerning trend where ammunition consumption rates are surpassing production rates. This development underscores shifting dynamics within global ammunition supplies and could have profound implications for international relations and conflict scenarios.