June 10, 2022

Institute for the Study of War: Ukraine, pleading for more western-supplied arms, says Russian artillery outnumbers Ukrainian by 10 or 15:1

Institute for the Study of War

Ukrainian officials are increasing the urgency of their requests for more-sophisticated Western-provided weapons systems amid reports of growing Russian artillery superiority. Several Western media outlets reported in the last 48 hours that Ukrainian military and government officials are increasingly highlighting the fact that Ukrainian troops are trapped in an “artillery war” on critical frontlines and are at a distinct disadvantage in terms of artillery systems.[1] Deputy Head of the Ukrainian Main Intelligence Directorate (GUR) Vadym Skibitsky stated that Russian troops possess 10 to 15 artillery pieces to every one Ukrainian artillery piece and that Ukrainian forces have almost completely exhausted their artillery ammunition.[2] Considering the current prevalence of protracted positional battles, especially in the Severodonetsk-Lysychansk area, Ukrainian forces urgently need fresh supplies of artillery systems. As Ukrainian forces use the last of their stocks of Soviet-era weapon systems and munitions, they will require consistent Western support to transition to new supply chains of ammunition and key artillery systems. Effective artillery will be increasingly decisive in the largely static fighting in eastern Ukraine.

Russian military authorities continue to struggle with force generation and are facing the consequences of aggressive forced mobilization efforts. Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU) claimed they captured a new group of Russian prisoners of war who reportedly were recruited through a private military company and told they were going to be providing security services but were instead sent to the frontline in Luhansk.[3] The Ukrainian General Staff similarly reported that units comprised of forcibly mobilized personnel are refusing to participate in combat in the Donbas due to high losses.[4] The Ukrainian Main Intelligence Directorate (GUR) cited intercepted phone calls and claimed that Russian soldiers are refusing to fight and are being threatened with prosecution—despite their lack of equipment and weapons within their units.[5] Such reports are consistent with previous reports that Russian forced mobilization efforts are self-destructive and may result in mounting discontent and declining morale and discipline.[6]  

Key Takeaways

  • Ukrainian officials are increasing the urgency of their requests for Western weapons systems due to Russia’s artillery superiority. 
  • Russian forces are continuing ground assaults within Severodonetsk but have yet to secure full control of the city as of June 10.
  • Russian forces are preparing to renew offensive operations toward Slovyansk and made minor gains to the north of the city.
  • Russian forces are continuing efforts to cut the T1302 Bakhmut-Lysychansk highway and conducting assaults on settlements near the highway.
  • Russian troops reportedly took control of the Kinburn Spit in the northern Black Sea, which will allow them to exert further control of the Black Sea coast.
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