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28 Feb, 2024 12:29

Russia has ‘done very well’ at boosting its defense industry – US general

Moscow’s military is adapting and learning during the Ukraine conflict, the American army’s chief of staff has acknowledged
Russia has ‘done very well’ at boosting its defense industry – US general

Russia should not be underestimated as its military has shown the ability to adapt and the country has expanded its industrial base amid the conflict with Ukraine, US Army Chief of Staff General Randy George has said.

George, who is the highest-ranking military officer in the Department of the Army, shared his assessment on Tuesday during a forum hosted by the Washington-based Defense Writers Group.

Russian forces “are adapting and they are learning” amid the fighting with the Ukrainian military, he said. The chief of staff highlighted Russia’s advances in drones, loitering munitions, and electronic warfare.

“Don’t underestimate your enemy. That’s never a good place to start,” George stressed, admitting that Moscow has “done very well by pumping money and energy into [its] industrial base.” 

Fellow high-profile guests at the event included Christine Wormuth, secretary of the US Army, who acknowledged that Russia has proved capable of regenerating its industrial base, despite the sanctions imposed by the West.

Wormuth also insisted the Pentagon has learned a significant amount from the fighting between Moscow and Kiev.

“We’re moving away from counterterrorism and counterinsurgency; we want to be postured for large-scale combat operations,” she stated.

In order to increase efficiency, the size of the US Army will be reduced by 24,000 positions or almost 5% by 2029, decreasing from 494,000 to 470,000 troops, the US Army secretary announced.

Some American media outlets which reported Wormuth’s comments, including The Hill and Fox News, linked the move to “recruiting shortfalls” in the US Army. Military.com revealed last month that the army had fallen 10,000 short of its 65,000 enlistment target in 2023.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said earlier this month that the production of weapons and ammunition in the country is going at a “very good, high pace,” with the forces fighting Ukraine steadily receiving the arms they need in terms of quality and quantity.

Defense industry employees “work hard at their plants and, if necessary, go directly to the combat zone... making appropriate adjustments [to the hardware there],” Putin stated, describing it as “true heroism.” 

Citing an unnamed Estonian official, the New York Times reported in September that Russian ammunition production was seven times higher than that of the US and EU combined.

Last week, a Ukrainian battery commander told the Kyiv Independent that ammunition supplies to Russian forces were “running smoothly” as they were mostly firing shells produced in 2022 and 2023.