Russia can fight Ukraine for “two more years” without support

A collage of various Russian military equipment.

A Cold War stockpile could help the Kremlin continue the fight, Lithuania said (Image: Getty)

Russia’s war against Ukraine – which used to last only months – could drag on for another two years, Lithuania’s military intelligence service has said.

The intelligence service said yesterday Moscow still had a stockpile of Cold War weapons with which it could “inflict enormous damage” on Ukraine.

Military intelligence chief Elegijus Paulavicius told reporters: “Russia accumulated weapons and equipment over the long years of the Cold War.

“We estimate that (his) resources would suffice for another two years of a war with the same intensity as today.”

IVANOVO REGION, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 25, 2022: Soldiers line up during a ceremony marking the deployment of military from Yars ICBMs of the 54th Guards Missile Division of the 27th Guards Missile Army of the Russian Strategic Missile Forces, based in Teikovo, Ivanovo Region as part of the Preparations for the Victory Day Parade in Moscow's Red Square at the Alabino training ground near Moscow. Vladimir Smirnov/TASS (Photo by Vladimir Smirnov\TASS via Getty Images)

Western officials struggle to put a figure on how much equipment Russia has (Image: TASS)

Paulavicius, the head of the second investigative branch, added that the agency’s number was based on Russia’s lack of support from other countries.

“How long Russia will be able to fight the war will also depend on Russia’s support from states like Iran and North Korea,” he said, Reuters reported.

Fears are already growing that China could be supplying “deadly” weapons to Russia, while Iran has long been accused of sending drones to the country.

The colonel’s estimate contrasts with that of the Pentagon, which last year expected the conflict to ease this year as Russia’s equipment wears out.

Paulavicius was speaking in Vilnius as he announced a new report that indicated support for the war in Russia “is not as great as the regime’s propaganda makes it seem.”

“Dissatisfaction with the policies of the regime is currently taking a passive form: most of the time, they avoid mobilizations, complaining about poor supplies and disorder in the army,” the document says.

Russian President Vladimir Putin greets Chinese Communist Party foreign policy chief Wang Yi during their meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, February 22, 2023. (Anton Novoderezhkin, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

Whether or not Russia’s allies – or those who claim to be impartial – give more weapons to Vladimir Putin could be a game changer (Image: AP)

Should Vladimir Putin issue another mobilization decree or suffer even more casualties on the battlefield, it would have “negative consequences for the stability of the regime”.

Data on how many weapons and equipment Russia has is scanty. One estimate puts the monetary value of the whole thing at more than $17,500,000,000.

It is unclear how many military planes, helicopters, tanks, boats and other vehicles the Kremlin has at its disposal. Although the UAVAR surveillance group puts the number of artillery systems in Russia at 10.

Russia lost about half of its total number of modern tanks in the past year of the war, the International Institute for Strategic Studies estimated last month.

But the military think tank said Russia still has thousands of older tanks in stock, ready to go into action.

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Justin Scacco

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