Russia’s defense minister has urged a state-owned company to double its missile production as an expected Ukrainian counter-offensive looms and both the Moscow and Kiev armed forces reportedly face ammunition restrictions.
Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said at a meeting with top military leaders on Tuesday that the state-owned Tactical Missiles Corporation had fulfilled its contracts on time.
But, Shoigu added, “At the moment it is necessary to double the production of high-precision weapons in the shortest possible time”.
Military analysts have been trying to determine whether Russia is running out of high-precision munitions as its missile strikes against Ukraine have become less frequent and smaller in scale.
The Institute for the Study of War said Wednesday that Shoigu’s comments about missile production were likely intended to distract from claims his ministry was unable to keep Russia’s armed forces adequately supplied with ammunition and to appear proactive amid concerns about the imminent Ukrainian counter-offensive.
Britain’s Defense Ministry said on Tuesday that “logistics issues remain at the heart of Russia’s struggling campaign in Ukraine”.
Russia does not have enough ammunition to succeed in the offensive ministry said. “Russia continues to give top priority to mobilizing its defense industry, but still fails to meet the war demands.”
NEW: Russian Defense Minister Sergei #Shoigu claimed that #Russia increases its production of precision missiles for use against #Ukraine, likely diverging from allegations that the Russian Ministry of Defense cannot supply enough ammunition to the Russian armed forces. https://t.co/AFJbe2Sknp pic.twitter.com/VJth3VIEhy
— ISW (@TheStudyofWar) May 3, 2023
Russia launched a third round of night attacks on Kiev in six days on Tuesday, Ukrainian authorities said early Wednesday, but air defense systems destroyed all Russian drones targeting the city with no immediate reports of casualties or destruction.
Air raid sirens blared for hours in Kiev, the surrounding region and most of eastern Ukraine, as the sky did not clear until dawn.
“All enemy targets were identified and shot down in the airspace around the capital,” Kyiv’s military administration said on the Telegram messaging app, citing initial details.
Iranian-made Shahed drones were involved in the attacks, the government said, though it was not immediately known how many drones were shot down.
In the early hours of Wednesday, a fire was reported at a fuel storage facility near a key bridge in Russia’s southwestern Krasnodar region, the regional governor said.
The fire broke out in the village of Volna, Temryuk administrative district, he said. It is close to the Crimean Bridge, or Kerch Strait, which connects mainland Russia to the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea that Moscow annexed in 2014.
“The fire is classified as the highest degree of difficulty,” Veniamin Kondratyev, the governor of Krasnodar, which is across the Sea of Azov from Ukraine, told the Telegram messaging app.
“Every effort is being made to prevent the fire from spreading further,” Kondratyev added. “There is no danger to the residents of the village.”
The fire in Krasnodar comes after a drone strike set fire to a Russian fuel depot in the Crimean port of Sevastopol early Saturday in what Moscow said was a Ukrainian attack. It also follows the derailment of two freight trains due to explosions in Russia’s Bryansk region, which borders Ukraine and Belarus.
Russian officials say pro-Ukrainian sabotage groups have carried out multiple attacks there since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022.
Ukraine almost never publicly claims responsibility for attacks in Russia and on Russian-controlled territory, such as Crimea. Kiev’s military has said undermining Russian logistics was part of preparations for the long-awaited counter-offensive.
Ukrainian troops say they are preparing for the counter-offensive and stockpiling ammunition to support it along potentially long supply lines.
Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said on Monday that the “key things” for success were “the availability of weapons, prepared, trained people, our defenders and defenders who know their plan at their level, as well as providing this offensive with all the necessary things – grenades, ammunition, fuel, protection, etc”.
“From today, we’re going into the home stretch, when we can say, ‘Yeah, everything’s ready,'” Reznikov said in televised commentary about the expected impending attack.