Vladimir Putin’s army running out of ammunition, say Western officials

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Vladimir Putin’s army running out of ammunition, say Western officials
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Vladimir Putin’s army is running out of ammunition and the small advances it is making in Ukraine will soon become “unsustainable”, Western officials said on Monday.

Russian forces have been bombarding the industrial city of Severodonetsk as they attempt to seize control of Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region.

But it is thought their war efforts are being hampered by a shortages of equipment, including long-range precision missiles.

Stocks of old weaponry are being brought out of “deep storage” to makeup the shortfall.

“[Putin] planned for a very short war, a campaign of 30 days,” officials said as the conflict entered it 117th day.

“They have always been on the back foot with supply of munitions to the frontline.”

Russian troops were told they would be welcomed in Ukraine but defence chiefs believe Putin’s army has lost between 15,000 and 20,000 soldiers during five months of intense fighting.

A lack of ammunition, low morale and poorly supplied combat units mean Western officials are “increasing alert that the tiny advances Russia is making will become unsustainable”.

They added the Kremlin will want to keep some of its weaponry reserves “in case they want to fight a war with Nato”.

Despite the shortage of munitions, they expect the war to continue for a “long time” with “no strategic compromise”.

Both sides will want to “dig in and maintain the advantage they have already won”, officials added.

It comes as the British Ministry of Defence (MoD) said Putin’s Air Force is so “risk adverse” that it has underperformed during the war, leaving his ground troops to become “exhausted” as they are being asked to do so much.

They said the shortcomings of the Russian air force was a key factor in the limited success being achieved by Moscow in the five months since it launched the invasion.

The MoD said added the Russian President had developed a fleet of “modern and capable combat jets” but this was not being matched by the “skill-sets” or “institutional culture” as achieved by some air forces in the West.

Mr Putin’s generals have been seeking for weeks to seize Severodonetsk in the eastern Luhansk province.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky predicted Russia will escalate its attacks this week.

“Obviously, this week we should expect from Russia an intensification of its hostile activities,” he said in a Sunday nightly video address. “We are preparing. We are ready.”

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