West cannot sustain arms supplies to Ukraine, claims Putin
Vladimir Putin has claimed the West cannot sustain weapons supplies to Ukraine.
According to the US-based Institute for the Study of War (ISW), Russia’s President is trying to create the impression that Western support for Ukraine is “futile”, though his claims are false.
The West has supplied Ukraine with billions of euros in military aid, including long-range missiles, artillery, tanks and drones, since the war began in February.
This support has inflicted a devastating toll on Russian forces and is widely seen as a crucial pillar of Ukraine’s military resistance.
Speaking on a state-owned news channel on Saturday, Putin claimed western defence production cannot match Russia’s, with the Russian president announcing that 1,600 new tanks will be built by the end of 2023.
This will mean Russia has more than three times the number of tanks than Ukraine, he claimed.
However, the ISW said this did not reflect the “current realities” of the balance of economic power and military-industrial capacity between Russia and the collective West.
“These claims are not supportable,” it noted. “The US GDP alone is 10 times the size of Russia’s. Germany, the UK, and France together have economies nearly five times the size of Russia’s.”
“Russian military-industrial potential is, in fact, hopelessly outmatched.”
During his televised speech, Putin claimed Ukrainian forces use up to 5,000 shells a day, while the US produces an average of 14,000 – 15,000 a month.
He argued that continued Western weapons supplies to Ukraine are merely an attempt to prolong the war, suggesting the West would need to make significant sacrifices to civilian projects to keep producing weapons.
“The US and its allies certainly must make choices when considering spending the large sums required to support Ukraine, but the choices they face are nothing like as hard as those confronting Russia,” wrote the ISW.
“The balance of overall available resources and industrial capacity is decisively weighted toward the West,” it added.
“Putin’s messaging is intended to persuade the West to commit less of that potential to supporting Ukraine by convincing the West, falsely, that it cannot match Russia.”
In March, The Financial Times’s reported that European arms manufacturers were “hobbled” by an explosives shortage.
13 months of gruelling warfare has inflicted a heavy toll on both Russia and Ukraine.
With its military stocks depleting Moscow is increasingly resorting to older Soviet-era tanks and missiles, which have limited effectiveness on the battlefield.
The United States is by far the largest contributor of military aid to Kyiv, followed by the UK and the EU.