It’s the microchips that look set to get Vladimir Putin in the end. Six months into its invasion of Ukraine, Russia is being throttled by a severe technology deficit inflicted by sanctions.
Having fired off (or lost in combat) way more of their missile firepower than they originally anticipated, Moscow’s soldiers are now increasingly relying on ancient stocks of primitive Soviet-era munitions while Western-armed Ukrainian forces are battling to turn the tide in a southern counteroffensive with pinpoint strikes on munition dumps and key infrastructure such as bridges.
Kyiv is acutely aware that the outcome of the war is likely to hinge on whether Russia finds a way to regain access to high-tech chips, and is out to ensure it doesn’t get them. In order to flag the danger, Ukraine is sending out international warnings that the Kremlin has drawn up shopping lists of semiconductors, transformers, connectors, casings, transistors, insulators and other components, most made by companies in the U.S., Germany, the Netherlands, the U.K., Taiwan and Japan, among others, which it needs to fuel its war effort.
The message is clear: Don’t let the Russians get their hands on this gadgetry. [Continue reading…]
Russia is buying millions of artillery shells and rockets from North Korea, according to newly declassified American intelligence, a sign that global sanctions have severely restricted its supply chains and forced Moscow to turn to pariah states for military supplies.
The disclosure comes days after Russia received initial shipments of Iranian-made drones, some of which American officials said had mechanical problems. U.S. government officials said Russia’s decision to turn to Iran, and now North Korea, was a sign that sanctions and export controls imposed by the United States and Europe were hurting Moscow’s ability to obtain supplies for its army.
The United States provided few details from the declassified intelligence about the exact weaponry, timing or size of the shipment, and there is no way yet to independently verify the sale. A U.S. official said that, beyond short-range rockets and artillery shells, Russia was expected to try to purchase additional North Korean equipment going forward. [Continue reading…]