Russian President Vladimir Putin has told the country’s defence industry chiefs to increase efforts to ensure that the Russian army quickly receives all the weapons, equipment and military hardware it needs to fight in Ukraine.
Putin, who has cast Russia’s war in Ukraine as part of an historic effort to push back against what he has said is excessive Western influence, made Friday’s comments during a visit to Tula, a centre for arms manufacturing.
Keep readinglist of 3 items
“The most important key task of our military-industrial complex is to provide our units and front-line forces with everything they need: weapons, equipment, ammunition, and gear in the necessary quantities and of the right quality in the shortest possible timeframes,” said Putin.
“It’s also important to perfect and significantly improve the technical characteristics of weapons and equipment for our fighters based on the combat experience we have gained.”
Putin said this week that the Russian army had to learn from and fix the problems it had suffered from in Ukraine, promising to provide whatever it needed to prosecute a war nearing the end of its 10th month.
Since tens of thousands of Russian troops invaded Ukraine on February 24 in what Putin called “a special military operation”, Moscow has ceded about half of the territory it initially seized.
‘No funding restrictions’
Putin has conceded that a September mobilisation campaign to add about 300,000 troops did not go to plan and has ordered that shortfalls, which have sometimes included a lack of basic equipment and training, be urgently addressed.
He declared this week that the state would ensure the army’s needs were met, with “no funding restrictions”, but said there was no need to “militarise” the economy.
On Friday, he told defence industry chiefs he wanted to hear their proposals on how to iron out unspecified problems and wanted defence industry specialists to work directly with front-line forces to refine weapons and hardware on a regular basis.
Nearly 10 months on from its invasion, Russia occupies a huge swath of eastern and southern Ukraine along a front stretching some 1,100km (685 miles), but has suffered a series of defeats that have swung the war’s momentum in favour of its smaller adversary.
Russia last publicly disclosed its losses on September 21, saying 5,937 soldiers had been killed.
That number is far below most international estimates. The United States’s top general estimated on November 9 that more than 100,000 soldiers had been killed or wounded on each side.