Above all, the artillery is slowly making up ground for Putin’s troops in Ukraine. After being successfully stopped during the planned storming of Kyiv, superiority is increasingly becoming Russia’s trump card. But there is a major weakness.

First Sjewerodontsek, now Lysychansk – the Ukrainian troops have lost some areas in the past few weeks. The Luhansk People’s Republic, which was proclaimed in February, is now completely under Russian control, or rather under that of Russian separatists.

After the failed attempt to conquer the capital Kyiv, the advance in the east of the country is a success for Vladimir Putin. The Russian artillery, which became more and more effective as the war progressed, played a decisive role in the conquest. However, it does have one weakness, according to an analysis by the UK-based “Royal United Services Institute for Defense and Security Studies (RUSI)”.

As late as March and early April, Russian artillery played scarcely any role in the Ukraine. In the early stages of the Battle of Kyiv, Putin’s forces were presented with a battlefield that did not accommodate the artillery and prevented its success.

After the Battle of Kyiv was lost, the invaders concentrated on the Donbass – and thus brought their own artillery more effectively into the war. Years of testing paid off. These allowed the troops to use tactical and technical innovations. The sudden dominance of the Russian artillery has another reason: the enormous numerical superiority.

Surf tip: All the latest news on the course of the war in Ukraine in the ticker

Russia has significantly more artillery at its disposal than Ukraine. Almost more important, however, are the necessary projectiles: Putin’s troops currently still have masses of ammunition available for the artillery, which experts say could be enough for several years of war. In addition, the Russian defense industry has a considerable capacity to produce other artillery shells.

However, there are also difficulties with the artillery. Personnel problems in the Russian troops are said to have temporarily meant that weapons lost their effectiveness because they were not used properly. This is probably also due to the fact that there are not enough well-trained soldiers for every artillery weapon.

A much bigger problem, which already threw Putin’s troops back on Kyiv in the battle, is the supply of artillery. Russia’s supply of supplies is heavily dependent on civilian vehicles, which are largely confined to road traffic. This makes bottlenecks predictable.

Twice a day, always up to date: The Ukraine update from FOCUS Online

The ammunition depots set up to prevent or at least alleviate bottlenecks can also become a problem. Depending on their size, they are difficult to defend or hide. Relocating these depots also takes a long time and makes replenishment less dynamic.

The problem for Ukraine, on the other hand, is that unlike in the battle for Kyiv, Russia is acting closer to its own borders in the Donbass. This makes it more difficult for the Ukrainian armed forces to limit or even cut off supplies. The troops are primarily concerned with their own defense and only rarely have the opportunity to attack the rear echelons of the Russian military. But that could give Ukraine’s armed forces some much-needed breathing space.

Isolated attacks on ammunition depots have already shown how hard it is for Russian troops when supplies arrive slowly. Russia continues to need large quantities of shells and other missiles to direct the war through artillery fire. However, if Ukraine succeeds in effectively attacking Russia’s artillery logistics, it will give its own troops a significant advantage.

However, the country will find it difficult to achieve this goal on its own. Ukraine needs attack systems with sufficiently powerful warheads to detonate stored ammunition or damage critical logistical infrastructure. According to RUSI experts, the best system for this is the MLRS multiple rocket launcher. Some western partners could probably deliver this system.

A challenge with supplied weapons is that the NATO standards are less uniform than the name suggests. The howitzers of different countries sometimes have different maintenance requirements. Also, in some cases, they use different charges, detonators, and sometimes even grenades.

The current approach, with each country donating a battery of weapons piece by piece, is quickly becoming a logistical nightmare for Ukraine’s armed forces. The problem: Each battery requires a separate training, maintenance and logistics pipeline. In some cases, delivered weapons can therefore only show an effect in the war much later than hoped.

In order to provide sustained support to Ukraine, one or two types of weapons must be provided, and countries must increase the production of the ammunition intended for them. According to “RUSI”, it is also necessary to set up second-line maintenance for these systems. If this succeeds, at least in part, Ukraine will have a great advantage in the defensive war against Russia.