Russia has five times Ukraine’s firepower, warns expert as he urges West to wake up | World | News

January 30, 2024


Russian will produce four million pieces of ammunition this year, said Samuel Cranny-Evans (Image: Russian Foreign Ministry)

‘s Russia is now mass-producing millions of rounds of ammunition a year, as well as roughly 100 missiles a month, with its economy now on a “war footing”, a UK-based military expert has warned.

Sam Cranny-Evans says the West must catch up fast in order to prevent Ukraine from being overwhelmed.

The Associate Fellow at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) in London, was speaking at a time when concerns about Russian military expansion have been high on the agenda, with General Sir Patrick Sanders, Chief of the General Staff of the British Army, highlighting the growing threat during a speech last week.

Mr Cranny-Evans told “Russia began shifting its economy and defence industry to a war footing quite early, and it is now beginning to see the effects of doing so.”

In the first year of the war, it had to divert effort away from the production of some ammunition in order to focus on the 152 mm shells which the Russian military uses the most, he explained.

Military mobility of Ukrainian soldiers in the direction of Bakhmut

Ukrainian troops only have one-fifth of the ammunition Russia soldiers have at their disposal (Image: Getty)

Mr Cranny-Evans continued: “In doing this they were able to produce one million shells in that first year, which is many Europe’s total production of the equivalent 155 mm shell that year.

“In 2024, Russia‘s industry is expected to produce four million rounds of ammunition across all of its ammunition types, and it is receiving many more rounds from its partners in Iran and North Korea. Its industry is also producing around 100 missiles per month, as well as 300 – 500 of the Geran-2 munitions that are an improved version of the Iranian Shahed.”

New production facilities were being built to ramp up production of loitering munitions, drones, armoured vehicles, and artillery systems, Mr Cranny-Evans stressed.

He said: “The defence industry has been given the legal backing that enables it to appropriate resources to meet its needs.

“So, the big difference is not only in what Russia is producing and how much, but in the psychology that sits behind it.”

In contrast with Russia, European nations appeared to be struggling to produce ammunition at the capacity required, Mr Cranny-Evans emphasised.

Supreme Council Of Russia And Belarus Held In St.Petersburg

Russian President Vladimir Putin (Image: Getty)

He said: “There are a number of examples hampering production for Ukraine. The Norwegian-Finnish company Nammo has said in late 2023 that it will need to resolve supply chain issues if it is to increase the production of artillery ammunition further.

“This could mean any number of things, but it generally reflects on the inability of our economies to meet sudden and large changes in demand. Finland has been able to stockpile some raw materials and is using that in ramping up its production, similar steps could be taken in the UK and the rest of Europe, but it all depends on the raw material suppliers having capacity.”

A strike by Nammo Works is set to derail production for two days, Mr Cranny-Evans pointed out.

He continued: “A lot of production for ammunition is geared towards peacetime needs, and peacetime needs tend to reduce costs where possible. This means that training might have tight financial constraints or limits and necessitate only small production quantities.

“This leads to lean production lines and ‘just in time delivery’ models that suit the established need, but struggle to rapidly scale up when demand surges.

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General Sir Patrick Sanders Grant Shapps

General Sir Patrick Sanders with Defence Secretary Grant Shapps (Image: GETTY)

In other cases, local governments and authorities appeared to be “challenging” defence industry expansion, added Mr Cranny-Evans.

He said: “For instance, Diehl in Germany produces missiles for the Iris air defence system, which is used by Ukraine, Sweden, and Norway. Further orders have been placed by Germany, Latvia, and Slovenia.

“The company tried to expand its facility in Troisdorf by buying additional land, but the attempt was blocked by the local government.

“In Wales, the BAE Glascoed facility was undergoing an expansion but a planning consultation has delayed that process.

As evidenced by Gen Sir Patrick’s speech, Britain appeared to have grasped the gravity of the situation better than many European NATO member states, Mr Cranny-Evans suggested.

He said: “I think that politicians in the UK do grasp this, and I think they see the opportunity for action. But, there is a need to put the defence industry across Europe beyond party politics for a time. It needs to be protected and resourced to do its job and rebuild our defences.

“I think the UK probably does need to do more in terms of production or at least building some kind of capability to be able to surge production in times of need.

“But I think what is needed is a mindset shift across Europe. A shift to putting defence industries first in certain scenarios so that they can do what’s needed.

“To give another example, there was a planned expansion of Nammo in Norway, but a TikTok data centre was built and created an electricity shortage.

“I believe the issue has now been resolved, but the conversations shouldn’t be getting to that point. They certainly won’t be in Russia.”

Outlining what was at stake, Mr Cranny-Evans concluded: “The first is that if Russia‘s elites are able to win in Ukraine, they will most likely feel like they have not just beaten Ukraine, but that they can outlast and outproduce the West. This would lead to a very dangerous security situation for Europe and the US in the wake of the war.

“The second is that regardless of what happens in Ukraine, the West might not present a credible deterrent to Russia or other hostile forces around the world. Without increased production, and a whole-of-government approach to get there, our industry will not meet our growing needs nor will it meet those of Ukraine.”

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