Russia asks Pakistan to return essential military hardware: Report

As the Russia-Ukraine war approaches its second anniversary in February, more details have emerged underlining the crisis fatigue of the Russian military. Russia is reportedly buying back weapons from its clients as it grapples with their shortage at home. Amid this push, Pakistan has attracted Russian President Vladimir Putin’s special attention.

As per a report published by Wall Street Journal, Moscow has asked Pakistan to return essential parts for the helicopter Mi-35M, which has seen extensive use in Ukraine. 

It was not clear whether cash-strapped Pakistan has made payments for these parts. However, a statement by the Pakistani Foreign Ministry rubbished these claims, saying they have not received any such request.

Not just Pakistan, Russia has also made similar requests to its traditional arms importers such as Egypt and Belarus.

Russia facing a shortage of weapons

Putin earlier in June had admitted that his nation was facing a shortage of military equipment it needed to defeat Ukraine, as per a report by Politico.

While speaking to pro-war bloggers in the Kremlin, Putin had said, “During the course of the special military operation, it has become clear there are shortages of many things — precision-guided munitions, communications equipment, aircraft, drones and so on.”

Watch: Ukraine bracing for a second winter of Russian airstrikes

“We have them, but unfortunately we don’t have enough of them,” he said, according to state media, adding, “As well as drones, “modern anti-tank weapons are needed, and modern tanks are needed.”

Russia ramping up artillery production

A Reuters report in September said that Russia was able to ramp up its artillery production amidst increased demand. 

Russia was on its way to achieving a yearly manufacturing capacity of 2 million shells; however, it still fell short of its war needs.

“If you expended 10 million rounds last year and you’re in the middle of a fight and you can only produce 1 (million) to 2 million rounds a year, I don’t think that’s a very strong position,” Reuters quoted a senior Russian official as saying, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Russia’s investments in its defence sector may also allow Moscow to produce close to 200 tanks a year, double some previous Western estimates, the official said. But that too, the official said, was a far cry from what it needs after suffering heavy losses in Ukraine.

(With inputs from agencies)

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