Russia has huge winter missile stockpile – NATO
The Russian military has amassed a large stockpile of missiles in preparation for strikes on Ukrainian infrastructure over the winter, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg claimed on Wednesday.
Speaking after a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Brussels, Stoltenberg repeated for the second time this week that the West should not “underestimate Russia.”
“Russia has amassed a large missile stockpile ahead of winter, and we see new attempts to strike Ukraine’s power grid and energy infrastructure, trying to leave Ukraine in the dark and cold,” he said.
When winter weather stalled progress on the frontline last year, Russia began launching missile and drone barrages against Ukrainian military and infrastructure targets.
In a statement on Wednesday, the Russian Defense Ministry said that missiles and drones were used the previous day to hit radar and anti-aircraft systems, fuel and ammunition depots, and Ukrainian personnel and hardware in multiple areas. A large-scale drone attack on Saturday targeted energy facilities in Kiev and several surrounding regions.
Within weeks of Russian troops entering Ukraine last February, military officials in Washington and Kiev were claiming that Moscow had only several weeks’ supply of missiles in storage. By November 2022, then-Ukrainian Defense Minister Aleksey Reznikov declared that Russia was down to 229 Kalibr and 132 Kh-101 cruise missiles remaining.
Several times that number were fired at Ukrainian targets in the next month alone, and the Russian Defense Ministry boasted in a post to its Telegram channel in late December that its “Kalibr [cruise missiles] will never run out.”
Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has demanded more and better air defense systems from his Western backers for several months. The US, however, is not currently in a position to provide these systems, with the latest arms package from Washington including an unspecified amount of ammunition for Ukraine’s existing NASAMS launchers rather than the Patriot batteries that Zelensky has requested since last year.
Earlier this month, the White House admitted that the money previously allocated for Kiev was almost all spent. US President Joe Biden has asked Congress for more than $60 billion in additional funding for Ukraine, although this request remains stalled amid opposition from some Republican lawmakers.