Moscow’s reputation as arms exporter in tatters in threat to economy
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Russia’s portion of the global arms market has been shrinking drastically and was already lagging behind the Kremlin’s international competitors prior to the invasion of Ukraine. Now the latest intelligence briefing from the Ministry of Defence has found that currently, in the face of conflicting demands, it is very likely that the Putin will be forced to pour money and time into rolling out weapons for their own forces in Ukraine instead of fulfilling orders from foreign customers.
The MoD’s Thursday update read: “Russia’s role as a reliable arms exporter is highly likely being undermined by its invasion of Ukraine and international sanctions.
“Even before the invasion, Russia’s share of the international arms market was declining. Now, when faced with conflicting demands, Russia will almost certainly prioritise deploying newly produced weapons with its own forces in Ukraine over supplying export partners.
“A shortage of components is likely affecting the production of equipment for export, such as armoured vehicles, attack helicopters, and air defence systems.
“In addition, Russia’s ability to sustain support services for existing export contracts, such as providing spare parts and maintenance, is likely to be seriously disrupted for at least the next three to five years.”
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It comes as Western allies are channeling billions of dollars to help Kyiv fight Moscow’s forces.
Ukraine’s government is keen to get more Western military aid, on top of the tanks pledged last week, as the warring sides are expected to launch new offensives once winter ends.
Kyiv is now asking for fighter jets.
The Ukrainian military expects Russia to “attempt something” on the February 24 anniversary, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov told France’s BFM television. He stressed his government’s urgency on getting weapons without delay.
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“We are telling our partners that we too need to be ready as fast as possible,” he said in an interview late Wednesday.
US President Joe Biden has ruled out providing F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine. U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Thursday during a trip to the Philippines that the focus of American aid is to increase Ukraine’s military capabilities by sending artillery, armor and air defense, and training Ukrainian troops.
The US is “focused on providing Ukraine the capability that it needs to be effective in its upcoming anticipated counteroffensive in the spring,” Austin said.
“And so we’re doing everything we can to get them the capabilities that they need right now to be effective on the battlefield,” he said.
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Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that strategy would backfire, by prompting Moscow to ensure that potential Russian targets were out of range.
“The longer range the weapons supplied to the Kyiv regime, the farther we would need to push them away from the territories that are part of our country,” Lavrov said in an interview with Russian state media.
He said Moscow would like to see the war end, but noted that the length of the conflict was less important than its desired outcome: to protect Russian territory and “people who want to remain part of the Russian culture,” reaffirming Moscow’s declared goal to defend Russian speakers in Ukraine.
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