TALLINN, Sept 16 (Reuters) – Western sanctions are starting to hurt Russia’s ability to make advanced weaponry for the war in Ukraine, a top NATO military adviser told Reuters on Friday, although he added Russian industry could still manufacture “a lot of ammunition”.
The United States, the European Union and other countries announced several packages of sanctions against Moscow after its Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine, which included a ban on the sale of advanced technology.
“They are hampered more and more by the sanctions – because some of the components that they need for their weapons systems come from the Western industry,” Rob Bauer, a Dutch Admiral who chairs NATO’s Military Committee, said in an interview.
“We now see the first serious signs of that in terms of their ability to produce, for example, the replacement of cruise missiles and more advanced weaponry,” he added.
Both sides in the war are facing challenges because the conventional conflict has required expending military supplies at rates unseen in decades, said Bauer.
“As far as we know, the Russians still have a considerable industrial base and are able to produce a lot of ammunition. And they still have a lot of ammunition”, he added, speaking ahead of a two-day meeting of NATO defence chiefs starting in Estonia later on Friday.
Moscow says that what it calls a “special military operation” was necessary to prevent Ukraine from being used as a platform for Western aggression, and to defend Russian-speakers. Kyiv and its Western allies dismiss these arguments as baseless pretexts for an imperial-style war of aggression.
OLD FASHIONED’ RUSSIAN FIGHTING
President Vladimir Putin said on Sept. 12 that Russia was holding up well in the face of Western sanctions. “The economic blitzkrieg tactics, the onslaught they were counting on, did not work,” he said on state TV while chairing a meeting on the economy.