Moscow’s artillery system losses in Ukraine will soon hit 10,000, according to Kyiv, whose estimate follows criticism from Russia’s defense minister about his country’s weapons manufacturers missing production and delivery deadlines.
Ukraine’s armed forces said Thursday that Russia had lost 24 artillery systems over the previous 24 hours, taking the total losses for such equipment to 9,411 since the launch of Vladimir Putin’s full-scale invasion on February 24, 2022.
That gives an average of just over 13 a day over the entire war. Should losses continue at this rate it would see the 10,000 figure reached in 45 days. However, the daily rate of artillery system losses has spiked to between 20 and 30 in recent months, with a high of 61 recorded on January 23, 2024, meaning that the five-figure tally—according to Kyiv— is likely to be reached much sooner.
Ukraine’s estimates of artillery losses are not independently verified and Newsweek has contacted the Russian defense ministry over the numbers, which come as Russian forces suffer huge losses of troops and equipment in their push for Avdiivka, in the Donetsk region.
The assessment comes as open-source intelligence (OSINT) analysts said that Russia’s armed forces had removed around half of its pre-war supplies of self-propelled artillery and towed artillery from storage sites.
OSINT X user High_Marsed, who helped compile the data using satellite imagery, previously told Newsweek that Russia’s forces faced “a high rate of attrition which could be caused by high losses, but barrel wear is probably also very important.”
He said said the number of shells Russia fires meant they needed a lot of replacement barrels “but many of the systems aren’t in production anymore.”
Production issues were addressed by Russian defense minister Sergei Shoigu on a visit to the Uraltransmash military manufacturing plant in Yekaterinburg on January 31, in which he criticized production delays.
“We have been working on this closely in 2022. We should already have these machines working at full capacity in 2023,” Shoigu said, according to the defense ministry’s Telegram channel, which said he ordered a report within a week to outline a plan to accelerate production.
Shoigu was at the site inspecting the production and repair of the 2S19 Mcta-S self-propelled howitzer, the 2S3 Akatsiya and 2S5 Giatsint-S self-propelled guns, and the 2S4 Tulpan self-propelled heavy mortar.
Uraltransmash’s director general told Shoigu that since 2022 the production of self-propelled artillery units had increased six-fold and that the first batch of the latest self-propelled gun, the 2S35 Koalitsiya-SV was “at the final stage of production,” according to the defense ministry.
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