Russia turns to buybacks to resupply forces deployed in Ukraine: WSJ

The Wall Street Journal reports that Russia is engaging in export requisitions and buybacks to boost its depleting arsenal, as it continues its invasion of Ukraine.

A Ukrainian service member holds captured Russian weapons, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine
A Ukrainian service member holds captured Russian weapons in Bakhmut, Ukraine [File: Anna Kudriavtseva/Reuters]

Russia is trying to get back parts of defence systems it had exported in an attempt to restock for its invasion of Ukraine, the Wall Street Journal has reported.

In an article published on Wednesday, the US-based newspaper reported – citing three people with knowledge of the encounter – that Russian officials visited Cairo in April and asked Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to return more than 100 engines from Russian helicopters.

The sources claimed Sisi gave the green light and the deliveries will likely begin in December.

An Egyptian government spokesman declined to comment to the WSJ.

Al Jazeera was not able to independently verify the claims.

Cairo has maintained some arms trade ties with Russia, to which the US has acquiesced.

According to the newspaper, Moscow has also contacted Pakistani, Belarusian and Brazilian officials to try to recover engines and transport helicopters its forces lost to Ukrainian defences early on in the war.

“Russia spent decades building its arms trade,” one source said, according to the WSJ. “Now they’re going back in secret to their customers trying to buy back what they sold them.”

As well as buying back weapons, Russia is understood to be stepping up domestic production.

Russian officials have rejected repeated Western claims its supplies are shrinking and steered clear of announcing specifics regarding its arsenal and domestic production.

The war in Ukraine began on February 24, 2022, and has claimed tens of thousands of lives – mostly soldiers on both sides, devastated the country, and sent diplomatic ties between the West and Moscow to historic lows.

WSJ reporter Evan Gershkovich is currently detained in Russia, accused of spying. He and his paper deny the allegations.

In its report on Wednesday, the WSJ also alleged that Russia has received more munitions from partners, including North Korea – a claim made earlier this month by South Korea and denied by Pyongyang.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, Russia officially pulled out of the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE), an international security pact that restricts the use of conventional weapons, saying NATO’s expansion has made such cooperation impossible.

As for Ukraine’s weapons supplies, military analysts have said Kyiv’s counteroffensive has so far failed because the West is failing to send arms in an efficient manner.

“Strategic objectives have not been achieved this year, and it’s hardly possible” in the remaining months, Lieutenant General Ihor Romanenko, former deputy chief of the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, told Al Jazeera.

He blamed Western allies for months-long delays of weaponry and a reluctance to supply more sophisticated arms.

Source: Al Jazeera, The Wall Street Journal