The New York Times reported Wednesday that Russia has been able to significantly ramp up its production of ammunition and other armaments despite Western sanctions meant to degrade the country’s military industry.
According to one senior Western defense official, before the invasion of Ukraine, Russia could produce 100 tanks a year. Now they can make 200. Western officials also believe Russia is on track to produce 2 million artillery shells per year, twice the amount they estimated Russia could make before the war.
As a result of the increase in production, Russia can make more ammunition than the US and Europe combined. The US and its NATO allies are working to bolster their production, but results aren’t expected to be seen for years. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg previously said Ukraine was using artillery rounds at a faster rate than the entire alliance could produce.
Kusti Salm, a senior Estonian Defense Ministry official, estimated in comments to the Times that Russia’s current ammunition production is seven times greater than the West’s. The figure demonstrates how time is on Russia’s side in the conflict and how fueling the proxy war may be unsustainable for the US and its NATO allies.
According to the Times, US and other Western sanctions targeting certain technologies, such as advanced semiconductors, initially hurt Russia’s ammunition production. But Moscow was able to find ways around the sanctions, and its economy has also adapted to the US-led economic blitz by finding new markets for energy exports in Asia.