Commentary on Political Economy

Tuesday, 22 March 2022

Russian invaders have three days of supplies left, says Ukraine military

Ukrainian commanders say fuel, food and ammunition in short supply after breakdown in Russian supply chains

The remains of a Russian military vehicles destroyed by the Ukrainian army on the outskirts of Kharkiv, Ukraine.

Russian forces have only three further days of fuel, food and ammunition left to conduct the war after a breakdown in their supply chains, Ukrainian military commanders have alleged.

The claims of major shortages were described as “plausible” by western officials although they said they were unable to corroborate the analysis.

The report from the Ukrainian armed forces general command was said to be consistent with evidence that the Russian advance had stalled, and that they had reverted to using “indiscriminate and attritional” artillery attacks on civilians.

“We do think that the Russian forces have used a lot of material including particular categories of weapons and we have seen isolated reports of particular units that have lacked supplies of one sort or another,” the official said. “It is consistent with an advance which has ground to a halt. Failures in the logistic chain has been one of the reasons they have not been as effective as they hoped”.

A Pentagon official added there were continuing morale issues among Russian troops, with food and fuel shortages, as well as frostbite due to a lack of warm weather gear.

“They’re struggling on many fronts,” the US official said.

The Ukrainian military said that a major problem for the Russian advance was a failure to lay down a fuel pipe to the front, although the claim could not be independently verified.

On Monday, Komsomolskaya Pravda, the pro-Kremlin tabloid, reported that according to Russian Ministry of Defence numbers, 9,861 Russian soldiers had been killed in Ukraine and 16,153 were injured. The death toll was swiftly removed from the newspaper’s website.

Western officials said they believed the numbers cited by the newspaper are a “reasonable estimate”.

The official said: “It is a level of casualties that has not been experienced [by Russia] really since the second world war. It is still continuing … It is a conflict on a different scale.”

While Vladimir Putin’s forces have struggled around Kyiv, a senior US official said the fighting had been taken to the streets in Mariupol, where many civilians remain trapped among rotting corpses and flattened buildings.

Two “super powerful bombs” hit the city on Tuesday even as rescue efforts were ongoing, local authorities said. The port city is said to be under naval shelling from ships in the Sea of Azov.

Russians are said to want to be able to declare Mariupol as a first strategic victory. The city is seen as key to securing a Russian corridor between the separatist Donbas region and illegally annexed Crimea.

It is also home to the largest trading port in the Azov Sea from which Ukraine exports grain, iron and steel, and heavy machinery. The US military said, however, that it has not seen any signs that chemical weapons were being prepared for imminent use. 

No comments:

Post a Comment