Is Russia Running Short of Ammunition?

Since the war in Ukraine began, the Russian Armed Forces have used thousands of tons of artillery ammunition in a vast arrange of calibers. Dominant amongst these is the venerable 152mm shell used by Russia’s howitzers. The Russian Artillery Corps remains pivotal for conventional offensive operations conducted in Ukraine and represents one of Russia’s significant advantages.

Numerous articles published in the first weeks of the War in Ukraine feared the possibility of the Ukrainian Armed Forces being entirely outgunned by Russia. However, this did not occur, in part due to Western assistance and more astute Ukrainian artillery doctrine. The Ukrainian Army was able to win the initiative and turn it into operational successes at Izium and Kherson.

In recent weeks several Russian sources have claimed that ammunition shortages for artillery are being experienced. These shortage ls may be the result of international sanctions and shortsges of the raw materials needed to produce munitions.

Some Russian sources and commentators have been expressing significant frustration, especially in the Bakhmut region, fiercely defended by Ukrainians over the last few months.

Outcry reached the public through anecdotal messages published by Wagner Group, LDPR Neo-Nazi Battalion “Rusich” soldier, and LDPR activist and insurgent nicknamed “Murza”. All sources complain about “ammunition hunger” for artillery and the waste of assets in the process.

“The Russian army is experiencing a serious shortage of ammunition against the background of active supplies of ammunition to our enemy,” according to comments the GRAY ZONE Telegram channel, “this problem is becoming critical from a serious one. If nothing changes, in the near future the enemy will begin to acquire the dominance of artillery at the front.”

Andrei “Murza” Morozov, an LDPR activist and volunteer active since 2014, posted a long article on the Livejournal platform, that described issues in communication and supplies of people’s militia formations. The article was immediately banned, but thanks to a translation made by a Polish Youtuber Andromeda the content remained available. According to Murza the Russian Armed Forces engages in pointless shelling of Ukrainian positions in Bakhmut, changing the landscape into a Moon-like surface. In the article, titled “Looking for positivities”, Murza said:

“Echelons of ammunition sent into nothing […] Artillery magazines taken by Ukrainians at Izyum. Congrats to you gents! What results at the moment? Colossal hunger for ammunition among artillery.”

These articles and social media posts reflect growing frustration, especially among some of the most dedicated Russian military and public figures. There have been reports to suggest that Russia has sought to procure munitions from North Korea. With Russia losing the initiative in late 2022 its lack of capability to withstand a potential winter offensive by Ukrainian troops may mark the begging of a slow end to this war.