Editor-in-chief Matsuka: The Kremlin missiles: when will they end?

The missile threat does not disappear, but Moscow’s tactics may change. The Kremlin is running out of combat-ready missiles, Ukrainian intelligence predicts. How will this change the situation? Will they shoot less? Or is it the same, but with much less damage?

What is happening now at Russian defence plants –

and at the same time in the minds of Russian officials?

Weapons deficit

Completely fresh footage. January of this year, Obukhov plant in St. Petersburg. Putin comes to this enterprise. And here are two interesting details: firstly, for once, he went out of his bunker to people – a rare story for him. And secondly, on TV, they show the plant’s workshop, where it was forbidden to film not so long ago. After all, this secret enterprise produces missiles for air defence. It is unlikely that the ban would have been lifted if it were not for the war against Ukraine. But there is nothing special to brag about – so they decided to show Ukraine and the West ‘Kuzkin’s mother’ – in the style of Khrushchev. And statements to match: they say Russia produces more missiles yearly than the USA – as much as three times! ‘Catch up and overtake America’… The Soviet-Russian slogan.

But in fact, the situation is far from being so rosy. Missile consumption far exceeds production, especially for high-precision cruise missiles. And this has already forced Moscow to use anti-aircraft missiles to shell Ukraine. The very ones that are produced at the plant in St. Petersburg where Putin went to pose for the cameras.

And here it is crucial to understand – what kind of missiles are in service with Russia?

Tochka-U: hits a target at a distance of 120 kilometres, Iskander: 500 kilometres, Caliber: 2500 km. They are launched both from land and from the sea. There are also aviation cruise missiles.

Air-launched cruise missiles Kh-101, Kh-55 are newer, more accurate and improved, with guidance in the final flight segment using television heads. That is, the operator has the ability to point them to the desired target in the aircraft. Recently, these rockets have been used (by Russia to bombard Ukraine). They are launched from strategic aircraft Tu-95M, Tu-160, Tu-22M3, – Ihor Romanenko, retired Lieutenant General of the Armed Forces of Ukraine

Exactly from those strategic aircraft that Ukraine was forced to cut into scrap metal during the Kuchma era. Or transfer the same to Russia – so, some missiles are fired from Ukrainian aircraft. Missiles cost from hundreds of thousands of dollars to a million.

During large-scale attacks, the Russian army has to combine missiles with kamikaze drones to try to inflict damage to the Ukrainian infrastructure. Or use missiles for the S-300 and S-400 complexes – for ground-to-ground launches, and not ground-to-air ones. And the calculations of the Ukrainian military show that right now is the stage of this war, at which Russia begins to have supply disruptions.

According to our calculations, Russia has no more than 20 percent of the pre-war stocks of missiles and what was launched during the war. This is approximately 550 units. Their potential is enough to carry out two or three massive strikes in the amount of 80 missiles, – VADYM SKIBITSKYI, representative of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Armed Forces of Ukraine

Moscow will change tactics

Approaches are already changing. Remember the same December 31st. Russia then used only 20 cruise missiles, although before that it had launched 70 ones or more.

Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov is confident that less than 13 percent of the Iskanders remain in the Kremlin stocks. Caliber missiles – only a third. Russia has even begun to use missiles from its strategic stockpile. Remove them from long-term storage.

Russian industry cannot cover the amount they use. Despite all their attempts, it’s unrealistic, – Kyrylo Budanov, Head of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Armed Forces of Ukraine

The Reuters news agency cites Pentagon estimates. And they testify: while maintaining the current intensity of the use of missiles and shells, the Russian army will exhaust its arsenal at the beginning of 2023.

One of the high-ranking American military said to Reuters – Russia has been using weapons produced forty and more years ago! He said – literally – the Russian military, “when loading a projectile, keeps their fingers crossed, hoping that it will fire or hit the target, exploding in the result.’ It’s the same with rockets. They get those that were not used in the previous century. For example, the Kh-22, which deviates from the target by 600 metres. Or, more and more often, the Kh-59 appears in the news, which Ukrainian air defence can easily shoot down.

The Evocation, a team of Ukrainian investigators, managed to find out how Russia is trying to give new life to these outdated Soviet weapons. It began to be produced back in the 1970s. The missile is used only against large stationary targets. In combat conditions, for the first time, the Russians used it during shelling in Chechnya.

It took 20 years to finalise and modernise the rocket, which is why Russian propaganda calls it a new development. The maximum range is 290 kilometres. It is launched from aircraft of the Su family, – From an investigation by the Evocation group

This is a missile that the Russian military-industrial complex can still produce – despite the sanctions. The Evocation team has established a list of factories that are involved in the production of missiles. They are scattered all over Russia – moreover, these enterprises have been transferred to a round-the-clock mode. As they say, put on a military footing.

British intelligence is also sure that it is precisely because of the shortage that the Russian army has limited missile strikes to once a week. They used to shoot a lot more often.

And here it is important to understand – is Russia capable of solving this problem? Increase production, return to the previous massive shelling, when missiles were not spared?

Lame ‘defence complex’ of Russia

Of course, there are still enough factories. But the sanctions no longer give the pace that Moscow used to be capable of. After all, the export of key components for such weapons is prohibited to Russia.

Technological sanctions create huge problems for them. They cannot produce high-tech military equipment, that’s the trouble for them. And this also applies to tank weapons, and missiles (especially high-precision), and some other types of weapons, – Volodymyr Fesenko, political scientist

And another amazing thing. The Russian defence industry was crippled by mobilisation. So they mobilised into the army the workers from the military plants too. As a result, the Russian military-industrial complex has not only technological problems, but also personnel problems.

What did all this lead to? The production – no matter how hard they try – is limited. In fact, missiles go off the assembly line – and immediately to the front line.

This means that attacks on Ukrainian cities and energy facilities will be destructive, but rare. Maybe once every 3-4 weeks.

Each case of purchasing a separate board is a big special operation. This is influenced by a huge number of reasons, even the weather can influence. But now Russia is in the range of 25-50, maybe 60 missiles per month. We are talking about the Kh-101 and Calibre-class missiles. They still have that potential, – Petro Chernyk, military expert

But the Kremlin is trying to satisfy its technological hunger with the help of rogue states. North Korea and Iran. In addition to drones, Moscow is trying to buy hundreds of ballistic missiles from Tehran in exchange for military aircraft. One country under sanctions pulls a second country under sanctions out of the swamp. And both find loopholes to produce weapons. And here it would be good to understand – how do these components get to Iran and Russia?

Here is an article from the New York Times. The journalists found out that the cruise missiles that Russia launched on the civilian infrastructure of Ukraine were made after the West imposed sanctions. This is the data of the British arms research group Conflict Armament Research. Its experts visited Ukraine and examined the wreckage of the Kh-101 cruise missiles, which were found after the attacks. And here it is interesting – one of them was produced last summer, the second – in the fall. That is, at the moment when export control should have been in full force.

That Russia has continued to make advanced guided missiles like the Kh-101 suggests that it has found ways to acquire semiconductors and other matériel despite the sanctions or that it had significant stockpiles of the components before the war began, – The New York Times publication

But how many chips did Russia need to ‘accumulate’ – since all modern Russian weapons are made using Western semiconductors? By the way, it is expected that the new package of Western sanctions will be aimed precisely at blocking these loopholes. And if this happens, it will further increase the Russian ‘missile deficit’, and give Ukraine at least a break of the missile strikes.

But what else will the West do? What supplies of weapons are being prepared? And how this will affect the situation at the front line – I will definitely tell you in the new videos. Do not miss the latest releases, three times a week on this channel. Thanks for watching – and see you soon!