Vladimir Putin is slowly running out of guns. He cannot hope for any help from the West, so he turns to other countries. But their help comes at a price.
Russia, culpably involved in the cruel war in Ukraine, is looking for war equipment. Russia is one of the largest arms exporters in the world. Nevertheless, the Russian leadership now seems to be dependent on armaments aid from other countries.
But there are hardly any states that, in view of the Western sanctions, are willing to supply weapons to the Russian army. It is therefore not surprising that Russia has now bought weapons from countries that are themselves heavily sanctioned: North Korea and Iran.
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Iran mainly supplies combat drones to Russia. The country has built up a large arsenal of drones in recent years and is also using it in Syria and Iraq. Russia, on the other hand, has, as surprising as it may be, an arsenal of reconnaissance and combat drones that is too small for a major power.
North Korea now allegedly supplies missiles and artillery shells to Russia. The sanctioned nuclear state has a huge stock of them. But these are not high-tech weapons.
Rather, they are relatively easy to produce. It is downright absurd that the Russian defense industry, into which a lot of money has been poured over the past thirteen years, is apparently unable to produce this material in sufficient numbers itself.
Russia has developed close ties with both Iran and North Korea. However, their military aid will not be in vain for Putin. Iran will demand more influence in Syria. Iran and Russia fought together against the armed opposition there.
But both have been competing for years over who has the greater influence on politics and the economy in war-torn Syria. North Korea, in turn, can now be sure that Russia will veto new sanctions decisions against North Korea in the United Nations Security Council.
There has long been speculation that North Korea could again test a nuclear weapon. Should that happen, the Security Council will not be able to adopt a new sanctions resolution against the hermetically sealed country.
Gerhard Mangott is a professor of political science with a special focus on international relations and security in the post-Soviet space. He teaches at the Institute for Political Science in Innsbruck and is a lecturer at the Diplomatic Academy in Vienna
What Russia lacks in the war against the Ukrainian army is not only the relatively simple technological weapons. The stock of cruise missiles has also shrunk significantly on the Russian side, especially the hypersonic weapons much vaunted by Putin.
Putin probably had to believe in a short, successful war against Ukraine. Otherwise he should not have started a long war in view of the meanwhile too small arsenals of these weapons. But shouldn’t the Russian armaments industry be able to get these weapons ready with the necessary haste and in the necessary quantities?
Also read: Analysis by Gerhard Mangott – Putin needs more soldiers and has only one choice
She can not. Many of the modern Russian weapons use western electronic components. Due to the sanctions, they have not been delivered to Russia for months. Semiconductors and other electronic components are missing.
Russia itself is not able to produce these components. Deliveries from non-Western states are not coming – because they don’t have them either, or because they, like China in particular, fear secondary sanctions from the West should they circumvent Western sanctions on arms deliveries. However, economic relations with North America and Europe are more important to China than the Russian market.
In view of the fact that relations between Russia and the West have deteriorated so significantly in recent years, it is surprising that Russia has not reduced this dependence on Western high technology.
It is also astonishing that the Russian leadership, despite these dependencies and the expected sanctions, has launched a widespread ground invasion of Ukraine.
Also read: New doctrine issued – declaration of war on the West? What Putin’s “Russki Mir” means
The Russian economy, including the armaments industry, were not prepared by Putin for the scenario of a long war of attrition and attrition. The leadership is directly responsible for the increasing number of military failures of the Russian army. But will Putin and his people ever be held accountable for this? Hardly likely.
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