Russian President Vladimir Putin boasts this week that his country’s armaments are decades ahead of rivals, despite the fact that the conflict in Ukraine has been going on for over six months and Russia still can’t manage to win it decisively.
At a yearly arms display on Monday, Putin said, “Many of them are years, perhaps decades, ahead of their foreign counterparts, and in terms of tactical and technical characteristics they are significantly superior.”
Putin also declared on Monday that he wants to increase Russia’s arms trade with other nations throughout the world, noting that foreign nations admire Russian weaponry for their effectiveness and good quality. This was apparently done as an act of fellowship.
“Russia sincerely cherishes historically strong friendly, truly trusting ties with the states of Latin America, Asia, Africa, and is ready to offer its partners and allies the most modern types of weapons—from small arms to armored vehicles and artillery, combat aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles,” Putin added.
Indeed, Moscow is a major supplier of weaponry. According to a study of shipments monitored by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) between 2016 and 2020, Russia is the second-largest exporter of weapons in the world, placing right behind the United States, and accounts for 20% of all global arms exports. According to the research, Russia is the largest supplier of armaments to Egypt, Vietnam, Kazakhstan, Belarus, and Algeria. It also supplies the majority of the weapons to India, China, and Algeria. Major weaponry are exported by Russia to 45 different countries.
But according to military and intelligence assessments, Putin’s boasts regarding Russian armament and trade intentions appear to be at odds with reality as Russia’s arms export industry begins to experience the ripple effects of its involvement in the conflict in Ukraine.
According to information released on Monday by the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Russia has so far lost 1,876 tanks, more than 4,000 armored vehicles, 985 artillery systems, and more in the conflict.
Putin did not specifically designate any nation as the center of Russia’s arms export industry, but he emphasized that Moscow valued all allies who have adopted Russian ideology in recent months. Putin stated that the transition from a unipolar world, in which the United States dominates, to a multipolar one will depend on Russian weapons deliveries.