It seems Russia is battling with its own escalated war against neighbouring Ukraine. At least multiple reports suggest so. In the latest development, a Japanese media report claimed that Russia is now lagging behind in weapons and has now started repurchasing its own weapons which were once exported to its "all-weather tested friend"-- India and Myanmar. According to a report by Nikkei Asia, it has analysed data on customs clearance and found records of Russian repurchases of parts for tanks and missiles that had been exported to Myanmar and India.
As per the report, Moscow may be reimporting the components to improve older weapons destined for use in the war-torn zone, relying on help from the nations with which it has long-standing military ties.
Russia facing a dearth of weapons: Wagner chief
Notably, the report came nearly a month after a video popped up on multiple social media platforms where the head of the private military company, Wagner, was seen unleashing an expletive-laden challenge to Russia’s military leadership. In the video, Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin said, "We are lacking 70% of the needed ammunition!” Further, as the video went on, he lamented how thousands of Russian soldiers were killed in the ongoing war. Also, he blamed defence chiefs for “tens of thousands” of Wagner casualties.
It is worth mentioning the European Union, the West and its allies had imposed a complete ban on the export of weapons to Moscow ever since it unleashed a full-fledged war against Kyiv. The situation soon turned unfavourable for Moscow after thousands of war tanks and other "old weapons" which Russian President Vladimir Putin claims to be "modern lethal weapons" were destroyed by the Ukrainian military.
Also, Moscow has been facing a dearth of military equipment amid the fact it depends widely on the West for high-end components.
Russia importing its products from Myanmar from December
According to the customs data analysed by the Japanese media, it found UralVagonZavod, which manufactures tanks for the Russian military, imported military products from the Myanmar army for $24 million on December 9, 2022. The report claimed that reimported goods suggest the company repurchased 6,775 sighting telescopes and 200 cameras for installation in tanks. Quoting Nobuyuki Akatani, a retired senior officer from the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force who was involved in developing tanks, reported that imports were "probably optical devices which are used to measure the distance to targets and zero in on them."
"Russia has a lot of old T-72s [tanks] in storage that is in need of modernization and could be sent to the front line afterwards," Oleg Ignatov, a Russia analyst with the International Crisis Group, a Brussels-based think tank told Nikkei Asia. "I can add that optics is a big problem for the Russian military-industrial complex. It's plausible that they are trying to get optics this way," added Ignatov.
Russia reimported its products from India
Meanwhile, in terms of India, the report claimed the Russian NPK KBM, the Russian initials for the Machine-Building Design Bureau, which is tasked with missile production, purchased a total of six components for night-vision sight for ground-to-air missiles for $150,000 from the Indian Ministry of Defense. Shockingly, equipment was repurchased in August and November 2022, which indicated Moscow was facing a weapon crunch within months of initiating war. However, as of writing this report, India, which is the biggest arms importer of Russia (nearly 35%), has not replied to the queries made by the Japanese media.