Russia's transition to a war economy would give it a material advantage in the war against Ukraine, given Russia's intention to continue fighting for at least 3-4 years if the West fails to produce weapons at the same pace.
Evidence: telegramAn open data analysis citing sources from a UK newspaper
details: „NATO continues to struggle as Moscow turns even bakeries and classrooms into tools to boost weapons production,” reports the Telegraph.
For example, the former Italmaz shopping mall in Izhevsk now serves as a drone production facility, where Lancet drones deployed on the battlefield in Ukraine are manufactured.
„It is among shopping centers, bakeries and other civilian infrastructure to be converted into weapons factories since Russia launches a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022. Russians have also been invited to work and volunteer for six days in factories as part of an intense war effort. Russian children are shown in workshops learning to assemble munitions parts. There's even footage from Russian television,” the Telegraph said.
A Western official told the Telegraph: „We are currently in a situation where Russia is spending 40 percent of its GDP on this war – more than health and education.”
„It is a statistic that the coalition is struggling to keep up with the West. Over time, security experts warn, this could give Russia enormous material superiority to win the war in Ukraine. And the urgency of the situation is widely recognized behind the scenes. Western governments are simply not keeping up,” wrote the Telegraph.
The Telegraph also said that the secrecy of Russia's defense industry and the tendency of Russian officials to exaggerate figures for propaganda purposes make it difficult to accurately assess the extent of Russia's transition to a war economy.
„But almost all experts agree it's real, dangerous and well-established,” The Telegraph reported.
According to official data, Russia has increased its military spending to 2.7% of its GDP in 2022, to 3.9% in 2023, and to 6% in 2024 (or a third of government spending). However, the real figure is much higher, The Telegraph said.
In a statement to the Russian parliament in December, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Russia would produce 1,530 tanks and 2,518 armored fighting vehicles by 2023. This represents a 560% increase in tank production from February 2022, Shoigu said. Production of infantry fighting vehicles increased by 360% and armored personnel carriers by 350%.
However, the Telegraph said this was only sufficient to offset Russia's losses on the battlefield, not to expand its capabilities.
The article states that Russian production is unlikely to provide enough material to mount a major offensive in 2024. Over the past two years, Russia has suffered too many losses to build a credible offensive force. But the Kremlin is thinking beyond 2024.
„They are talking about mobilizing their defense in the next three years, which means they are facing war for at least three to four years. We are at a point where the Russians are vulnerable because production is not meeting their demands. But they will turn a corner,” a defense insider told The Telegraph. .
If the West doesn't act, The Telegraph wrote, „Ukraine could lose the war. No one knows what will happen next – but there have been some alarming signals from Moscow about further land occupations in Europe.”
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