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Satellite Images Suggest Russian Artillery Stocks Have Depleted Much More Than It Says

Satellite imagery analyzed by open-source intelligence (OSINT) experts indicates that Russia has depleted nearly half of its artillery stockpiles since the onset of the Ukrainian invasion.

The findings suggest a significant rate of attrition in Russia’s equipment, shedding light on the scale of losses incurred during the conflict.

Lack of Transparency

MINSK, BELARUS – Feb 11, 2015: Russian President Vladimir Putin before the negotiations leaders of states in Normandy format in Minsk — Photo by palinchak

Amid the ongoing war initiated by Russian President Vladimir Putin, both Moscow and Kyiv have been reticent about disclosing their respective losses, including troop casualties and equipment destruction.

Opacity of Estimates

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This opacity has led to varying estimates from different sources, leaving much uncertainty surrounding the true extent of the conflict’s toll.

Tracking Artillery Losses

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According to Oryx, a website monitoring military losses, Russia has reportedly lost 666 pieces of Self-Propelled Artillery (SPG) and 340 pieces of Towed Artillery (SA) as of Tuesday.

However, these figures are believed to be significantly higher, with the actual number of destroyed equipment likely surpassing the reported count.

Depletion of Artillery Stocks

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Recent data shared by OSINT analysts High_Marsed and Cover Cabal on social media platform X revealed a notable reduction in Russia’s artillery reserves.

Inventory Prior to War

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Prior to the war, Russia had an inventory of 4,450 SPGs and 14,631 towed artillery pieces.

However, these numbers have significantly declined since the conflict began, indicating substantial losses and resource depletion.

High Rate of Attrition

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The analysts attribute the decrease in artillery stocks to both losses on the battlefield and wear and tear on equipment.

The extensive use of artillery shells has led to barrel wear, necessitating the replacement of components.

Strategic Polarization

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Additionally, the depletion of more capable towed artillery systems suggests strategic prioritization amid resource constraints.

Utilization of Aging Equipment

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While some of the remaining artillery stock comprises outdated weaponry, such as the M-30 field gun used in World War II, Russia has also deployed more modern systems, including the 2A65 howitzer and 2A36 field gun.

However, the availability of replacement parts for these systems remains a challenge, given their discontinued production.

Cannibalization of Resources

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There are indications that Russia is resorting to cannibalizing existing SPG stocks to sustain operations.

This practice, while difficult to quantify accurately, underscores the strain on military resources and the urgency of replenishing depleted supplies.

Uncertainty and Future Implications

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While the extent of resource depletion is apparent, the timeline for exhausting artillery reserves and its impact on frontline operations remains uncertain.

As the conflict persists, analysts are closely monitoring developments to assess the evolving dynamics of Russia’s military capabilities.

Conclusion

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The analysis of satellite imagery provides valuable insights into the attrition of Russia’s artillery reserves during the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

With significant losses reported and resource depletion evident, the findings underscore the toll of war on military equipment and the challenges faced by belligerent forces in sustaining operational capacity.

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