Russia’s Defense Minister Urges Faster Weapons Deliveries, Suggesting Stockpiles Are Depleted

“The actions of Russian units conducting the special military operation ,” he said in opening remarks, broadcast on state television, at an online meeting of the leadership of the Russian Armed Forces.

The same issue has been something of a theme in Mr. Putin’s speeches over the past year.

The defense minister, in his comments on Tuesday, singled out the need to double the output of high-precision missiles “in the shortest possible time.” The manufacturer of the guided missiles, Tactical Missiles Corp., whose headquarters lie near Moscow, is under U.S. and European sanctions.

Western military analysts and Ukrainian officials have been suggesting for months that production bottlenecks were among the problems plaguing the Russian military, caused partially by the need to substitute parts sanctioned by the West.

Overall, Russian arms manufacturers have been instructed to speed up the “pace and volume of production,” Mr. Shoigu said, noting that any shortfall in production targets had to be identified and corrected “promptly.”

Enough ammunition had been delivered to the armed forces this year to attack the enemy “effectively,” Mr. Shoigu said.

That statement contradicted recent comments by Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of the Wagner mercenary group, who has engaged in a long tug-of-war with the Ministry of Defense over ammunition supplies. Mr. Prigozhin said in remarks published last week that his forces had only received about one-quarter of the ammunition they needed at the moment in the struggle to take the eastern city of Bakhmut, a battle that has been raging since last summer.

Some military analysts have suggested that Russian missile barrages against Ukraine’s cities have been only intermittent because Russia’s forces lack sufficient weapons stockpiles.

The Russians shot a number of S-400 missiles, normally used in long-range air defense, at Kyiv in January, prompting speculation that Russia had a serious deficit in cruise missiles.

Mr. Putin made critical remarks at various times this year about the pace of manufacturing. On live television in January, he berated the Russian minister in charge of supervising industrial production for the pace of aircraft orders, including military helicopters, which he called “long, too long.” In March, Mr. Putin bemoaned the paucity of specialized workers needed to fulfill defense orders, even with some working triple shifts.

Dmitri A. Medvedev, a former Russian president and current deputy chairman of the Kremlin’s Security Council, has warned that factory managers at arms manufacturers could be held criminally liable for not meeting defense contract deadlines.

In March, Mr. Putin signed a decree allowing the central government, in the event of martial law, to take over the management of defense manufacturers who fail to meet state contracts.

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