Drone warfare forced the Russian military to retreat from Snake Island and other occupied territories. The unmanned surface vessels signal a sea change in Ukrainian naval strategy. When Russia widened its war in Ukraine starting in late February, the Ukrainian navy still hoped to counter the 30-ship Black Sea Fleet with a handful of big ships of its own—in particular, the gun-armed frigate Hetman Sahaydachniy.
Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on State TV that Russia’s weapons should be modernized, in a rare hint that the Kremlin is acknowledging its military hardware is outdated.
“For example, for every item of gear or equipment, we must listen to those who use them and understand how these items perform and whether they are fit for their intended purpose,” Putin told his coordination council, according to the Kremlin’s official site.
“The same applies to weapons, which need constant and uninterrupted upgrades and improvements to remain effective,” Putin added. “For this, as I said, it is essential that we promote competition among manufacturers and developers.”
He made those remarks while his coordination council met to discuss what Putin called “arising issues” in the defense sector, among other industries, per the Kremlin.
Putin’s admission is a remarkable reversal from his comments in August 2021 when he bragged to foreign allies at a military forum that Russia’s weapons are “cutting edge” and “decades ahead” of their foreign counterparts.
Over the last few weeks, Putin has signalled an urgency for Russia to streamline and update its army’s administration procedures and weapons production.
Putin’s hints came after the Russian army failed to retain territories Putin claimed to remain part of Russia forever. Putin mainly spoke about Russia’s air force and navy’s failure to play a significant role in the so-called ‘special operation’, an unprovoked attack on Ukraine.
Putin told Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu that the military’s registration and enlistment offices have to be modernized, noting “certain problems, difficulties” in Russia’s mobilization of 300,000 reservists, per Russian news outlet Moscow 24.
In September, Putin urged Russian defense companies to modernize and increase their production capacities, advising them to study how their equipment fares against Western weapons, per state-affiliated TV channel NTV.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, now approaching its ninth month, has revealed systemic flaws in its army’s logistics, war doctrine, and military technology.
Moscow’s inability to gain and hold significant ground in Ukraine, coupled with the destruction of much of its equipment in battle, has forced it to deploy Soviet-era tanks and weapons systems, according to Western intelligence.
On Wednesday, the Pentagon also said that North Korea has secretly supplied Russia with artillery shells to be used in Ukraine.
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