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Russia’s Defense Industry: Thriving or Struggling?

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Newsweek vs. The New York Times: Two Different Narratives

Newsweek and The New York Times recently published articles with conflicting narratives about Russia's defense industry. Both articles discuss Russia's ability to produce missiles and military equipment, but present different perspectives on the matter.

The New York Times: Russia Overcomes Sanctions to Expand Missile Production

According to The New York Times, Russia has managed to overcome sanctions imposed by the West and expand its missile production beyond prewar levels. U.S., European, and Ukrainian officials have confirmed this, raising concerns about Ukraine's vulnerability to intensified attacks in the coming months.

Russia has rebuilt trade in critical components by routing them through countries like Armenia and Turkey, evading attempts by U.S. and European regulators to curb the export of chips to Russia. With revenue from high energy prices, Russia's security services and ministry of defense have been able to smuggle in the materials required for cruise missiles and other precision guided weaponry.

As a result, Russia's military production has not only recovered but surged. Before the war, Russia could produce 100 tanks a year, but now they are producing 200.

Newsweek: Russia's Focus on Drones and Possible Missile Stockpile

Newsweek's article by Alia Slisco suggests that Russia is focusing on drone training while dealing with short supplies of missiles and military equipment used in the ongoing war with Ukraine. Slisco acknowledges that there are indications of reduced missile use by Russia in recent months, but speculates that they may be building a large stockpile of missiles for an impending winter attack.

However, the article is primarily about Russia's increased use of drones to attack Ukrainian troops, rather than a shortage of missiles. Slisco concedes that Russia "may be building a large stockpile" of missiles, but it is unclear when they will be launched.

Understanding Russia's Tactics

While both articles discuss Russia's use of drones, it is important to note that Russia will launch missiles when it serves its tactical and strategic goals. The focus on drones does not necessarily indicate a shortage of missiles, but rather Russia's preference for cheaper technology and the development of more sophisticated and lethal drones.

Regardless, the conflicting narratives highlight the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, and the challenges faced by Ukraine in dealing with Russia's military capabilities.