Almost six months in a war in ukraine that Russia does not seem to be able to win decisively, Russian President Vladimir Putin boasts this week that Russia’s weapons are decades ahead of its competitors.
“Many of them are years or even decades ahead of their foreign counterparts, and in terms of tactical and technical characteristics they are significantly superior,” Putin said at an annual arms expo on Monday, according Interfax.
And in an apparent show of camaraderie, Putin vowed on Monday he wanted to expand Russia’s arms trade with other countries around the world, saying foreign countries value Russian weapons for their efficiency and high quality.
“Russia sincerely maintains historically strong ties of friendship and trust with the states of Latin America, Asia and Africa, and is ready to offer its partners and allies the most modern types of weapons – from small arms to armored vehicles and artillery, to combat aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles,” Putin said.
Moscow is indeed one of the main arms exporters. Russia accounts for 20% of global arms exports and is the world’s second largest arms exporter, ranking just after the United States, according to an export analysis tracked by independent research organization The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) between 2016 and 2020. India, China and Algeria are the main recipients of Russian armaments, and Russia is also the main supplier of arms to Egypt, Vietnam, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Angola, according to the report. Russia exports major weapons to a total of 45 states.
But Putin’s claims about Russian arms and trade plans appear to stray from reality as Russia’s arms export business begins to feel the cascading effects of the war in Ukraine, according to military assessments. and intelligence. Russia has lost 1,876 tanks, more than 4,000 armored vehicles and 985 artillery systems, and more, in the war so far, according to data from the Ukrainian Armed Forces General Staff shared on Monday.
On top of that, Russia’s ability to replenish its stockpiles is rapidly diminishing as the bite of sanctions takes hold. systems, as well as anti-radar missiles, munitions and radar systems. And already, high-tech components are no longer arriving in the country and manufacturing plants are closing, according to Reuters.
“Industry may find it difficult to meet many of these requirements, partly because of the effects of sanctions and lack of expertise,” said a British intelligence assessment in June. “Russian production of high-quality optics and advanced electronics likely remains troubled and could undermine its efforts to replace equipment lost in Ukraine.”
Even before Putin chose to invade Ukraine again in February, the outlook for Russia was not good. The balance of exports and imports was already set to change in the coming years, particularly due to China, as Beijing may soon not need to rely on Russian weapons as much in the coming years, according to SIPRI.
“Imports from Russia are expected to decline in volume once China’s own industry manages to consistently produce the types of major weapons it has typically imported from Russia over the years,” the report noted.
“No other country in the world has anything like it.”
Putin did not name any country as a particular target for his arms export activities, but stressed that Moscow appreciates all partners who have embraced Russia’s thinking in recent months. Putin added that arms transfers from Russia will be essential in moving the world from a unipolar world – in which the United States dominates – to a multipolar world.
“We highly appreciate that today our country has many allies, partners, like-minded people on different continents,” he said. “They choose a sovereign and independent path of development, they want to collectively solve global and regional security issues on the basis of international law, mutual responsibility and consideration of each other’s interests. Thus, they contribute to the protection of a multipolar world.
This is not the first time Putin has bragged about Russian weapons in recent months as he waged war in Ukraine. In March, Putin boasted to Russia’s Federal Assembly that additions to Russia’s nuclear arsenal would render US defenses ‘useless’ – even though some of the proposed additions to Russian stockpiles are “weird,” according The Washington Post.
Putin’s assertions at the army conference this week echo his earlier insistence that Russian weapons development is light years ahead of the work of other nations.
“As you might have guessed, no other country in the world has anything like it,” he said. said of a nuclear-powered underwater drone in March. “Maybe something similar will appear one day, but our guys will find something else by then.”