Reports have been piling up for some time that the Russian military is having problems resupplying weapons. The US suspects that the country would like to procure ammunition from North Korea. An expert has now calculated that Russia could run out of most of its ammunition by the end of the year.

There are signs of a turning point in the Ukraine war. In a few days, Kiev’s army is making up for losses in territory made by the Russian attackers in five months of bitter fighting. The Russian front is on the verge of collapse – and the soldiers could face even worse. As a result of the war, according to the US government, a large part of the Russian military stocks have been used up.

A military expert has also calculated that the Russian side could run out of ammunition by the end of this year. Pavel Luzin wrote on the Russian investigative platform The Insider that the Russians could soon reach their available reserves. “Guided missiles are already in very short supply, shells for artillery and armored vehicles will run out by the end of the year, and the state of the air force does not allow full-scale attacks,” writes Luzin.

Since the start of the Ukraine war, Russia has used between 40,000 and 60,000 artillery shells a day – more than in any other Russian war since the collapse of the Soviet Union, he continues. According to Luzin, in half a year of war this resulted in around seven million shells being used.

The huge stocks of Soviet weapons that Russia received at the time had already shrunk significantly as a result of the wars in Chechnya, Georgia and the Ukraine attack in 2014. In addition, only 1.7 million new bullets would be produced each year. This means that Russia has already used up at least the production of the last four years.

In addition, current production is restricted due to the sanctions. A shortage in the next few months is therefore likely, according to the expert, should the intensity of the war remain at the current level. Several troops have already been withdrawn from the Kharkiv region after the Ukrainians retook 3,000 square kilometers of terrain.

American reports that Russia wants to procure ammunition and missiles from North Korea on a large scale also speak in favor of such a shortage. It could be “millions of ammunition, rockets and grenades,” said National Security Council spokesman John Kirby in the White House on Tuesday (local time).

If the shortage does not occur as quickly as expected, the Russian military has another problem, according to insider Luzin. Artillery guns and tank gun barrels would wear out much faster than, say, multiple rocket launchers. The service life of barrels in tank guns varies between 210 and 840 rounds, that of howitzers between 2000 and 3000 rounds. According to the expert, the Russian Ministry of Defense cautiously admitted these wear and tear problems two years ago. He therefore assumes that the short lifespan of the guns will “lead to a drastic reduction in effectiveness” in the coming months.