Putin war plans in tatters as arms production grinds to a halt in wake of sanctions

Ukraine: Zelensky warns that Putin might use nuclear weapons

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The Russian army has suffered huge losses to both personnel and equipment in its ill-fated invasion of Ukraine. Putin’s forces are trying to regroup for an expected new offensive in Ukraine’s east and are desperately trying to restock and replace destroyed equipment. However, stringent sanctions have targeted Russia’s defence industry, which heavily relies on imported parts from the West.

The latest weapon to be affected by the import embargo is the Buk air missile system, whose production has reportedly almost ground to a halt.

Lesia Vasylenko, a Ukrainian MP, tweeted: “Sanctions work! #Russia can no longer buy components for anti-air missile systems Buk and similar.

“Production levels fall close to zero. Eventually this will reduce attacks on #Ukraine.

“But the sanctions must keep going.”

The Buk is a mobile, radar-guided surface-to-air missile system with a fearsome reputation.

A Buk missile was responsible for bringing down Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 as it flew over Eastern Ukraine in 2014, killing all on board including a number of Britons.

An international Joint Investigative Team concluded the missile was fired by Russian-backed rebels as the plane made its way from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.

Western sanctions have also halted tank production at Russia’s Uralvogonzavod in Nizhny Tagil.

The company is the largest manufacturer of battle tanks in the world and is owned by the state corporation Rostec.

Rostec’s CEO is Sergey Chemezov, a former KGB agent and high-ranking general, who befriended Putin when they both served in East Germany in the 1980s.

Margo Gontar, a Ukrainian journalist, broke the news about the factory’s closure on Saturday.

She said: “Russia’s Uralvogonzavod shuts down production.

“It will no longer be able to assemble any of T-72 tank (main RU tank) or newer T-90 & T-14 tanks (Armata).

“Reason: lack of imported components. It means more saved UA lives, is direct result of Western sanctions which should continue.”

Russian forces have taken an absolute hammering in the face of fierce resistance from the Ukrainian army.

The General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces claims over 20,000 Russian soldiers have died since the start of the conflict.

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They also say they have destroyed more than 700 tanks, 165 planes and a 146 helicopters.

The Russian army has around 170 battalion tactical groups (BTG) and deployed some 65 to Ukraine.

Each BTG has approximately 600–800 officers and soldiers, of whom roughly 200 are infantrymen, equipped with vehicles typically including roughly 10 tanks and 40 infantry fighting vehicles.

On Sunday, Russia stepped up its bombardment of Ukrainian cities, hitting Lviv in the west with a number of missiles.

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