Sanctions causing ‘shortages’ of vital Russian reconnaissance equipment used in Syria, says UK

·2-min read
Sanctions causing ‘shortages’ of vital Russian reconnaissance equipment used in Syria, says UK

Sanctions on the Russian economy are helping to cause “shortages” of vital reconaissance equipment, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has said.

In its latest update, the MoD said the Russian military is attempting to implement a ‘Reconaissance Strike’ strategy, whereby unmanned aerial vehicles are used to identify enemy targets to be hit by jets or artillery fire.

However, the wave of sanctions implemented by the West and other allies are helping to cause “shortages” of the equipment, the ministry said.

“Russia is likely experiencing a shortage of appropriate reconnaissance UAVs for this task, which is exacerbated by limitations in its domestic manufacturing capacity resulting from sanctions,” the MoD said.

“If Russia continues to lose UAVs at its current rate, Russian forces intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability will be further degraded, negatively impacting operational effectiveness.”

Since refocusing its offensive in the eastern Donbas region, Ukrainian forces have been able to reclaim certain areas of the country.

Despite that, Russian troops bombarded the riverside city of Sievierodonetsk on Friday in what seemed to be the start of a major assault to seize the last remaining Ukrainian-held territory in Luhansk which is one of the two provinces Russia claims are independent states.

The city, and its twin Lyshchansk on the opposite bank of the Siverskiy Donets river, form the eastern part of a Ukrainian-held pocket Russia has been trying to overrun since mid-April after failing to capture the capital Kyiv.

“The Russian army has started very intensive destruction of the town of Sievierodonetsk, the intensity of shelling doubled, they are shelling residential quarters, destroying house by house,” Luhansk governor Serhiy Gaidai said via his Telegram channel.

“We do not know how many people died, because it is simply impossible to go through and look at every apartment,” he said.

Russian troops guard an entrance of the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Station, a run-of-river power plant on the Dnieper River in Kherson region, south Ukraine, Friday, May 20, 2022. (AP)
Russian troops guard an entrance of the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Station, a run-of-river power plant on the Dnieper River in Kherson region, south Ukraine, Friday, May 20, 2022. (AP)

Russia has also claimed to have taken the besieged city of Mariupol, in the south after the last remaining Ukrainian soldiers surrendered from the Azovstal steel plant.

That would mark the end of a nearly three-month siege that reduced much of Mariupol to ruins and left over 20,000 people feared dead.

Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu reported to President Vladimir Putin on Friday that the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol has been “completely liberated” from Ukrainian fighters, the Associated Press reported.

There was no immediate confirmation from Ukraine.

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