Cars are seen on fire in Kyiv, Ukraine, October 10, 2022 after Russian missile attacks as Russia’s attack continues.
Valentin Ogirenko | Reuters
Russia has dramatically ramped up its missile attacks on Ukraine over the past 48 hours, but experts say the country is running out of options — as well as supplies and ammunition — on the battlefield.
Air raid sirens rang out again in several regions of Ukraine on Tuesday, and emergency services warned that further Russian attacks were very likely. Ukrainian officials reported that power infrastructure in the western city of Lviv was hit earlier, while the southern city of Zaporizhia was also attacked this morning.
The latest attacks come a day after a series of Russian attacks launched in response to last weekend’s bombing of Russia’s prized bridge across the Kerch-Crimea Strait, hitting various Ukrainian cities, including the capital Kyiv. At least 19 people were killed and more than 100 injured in the strikes, emergency services said.
Ukraine’s leadership has said it will not be intimidated by the latest spate of attacks, with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy pledging to inflict more pain on Russian forces on the battlefield.
Inventories are running out
Despite Moscow’s recent show of strength over the past few days, experts see Russian forces looking increasingly desperate and ill-equipped.
“We know – and Russian commanders on the ground know – that their supplies and ammunition are running low,” Jeremy Fleming, director of GCHQ, one of Britain’s top intelligence agencies, will say on Tuesday.
“Russia’s armed forces are exhausted. The use of prisoners as reinforcements and now the mobilization of tens of thousands of inexperienced conscripts speak to a desperate situation,” he will say at the annual RUSI lecture, according to pre-released comments.
According to Fleming, the Russian people are beginning to understand the reality of the war. “You see how badly Putin misjudged the situation. Fleeing conscription, they realize they can no longer travel. They know that their access to modern technology and outside influences will be severely limited at the terrible human cost of their chosen war.”
Destroyed armored vehicles and tanks of the Russian Armed Forces after withdrawing from the town of Lyman in the Donetsk region of Ukraine on October 5, 2022.
Methane Acta | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
Far removed from “the inevitable Russian military victory her propaganda machine produced,” it is clear that Ukraine’s prowess on the battlefield and in cyberspace, countering Russian propaganda, is “turning the tide,” Fleming will say, in the war.
Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision-making is looking increasingly flawed as “high-stakes strategy… leads to strategic miscalculation.”
CNBC has reached out to the Russian Defense Ministry for a response to Fleming’s comments and has yet to receive a response.
Fleming is not alone in believing that Russia is in its death throes both at war and at home.
Christoph Heusgen, chairman of the Munich Security Conference, told CNBC last week that there were signs that Russia was “falling apart”.
“It’s a black hole [in] Russia,” he said. “Putin has a monopoly on communications, on the media, his popularity remains high, but things are falling apart left and right. The military is under severe criticism, the industry is non-productive and there are signs that the country is falling apart, but it is difficult to predict how this will play out and how long it will take, but the end of Putin’s regime is proceeding much faster .” he told CNBC in Warsaw.
“Would you have believed that the Ukrainian military is where it is today and that it is advancing?”
“Push back against aggression”
The multiple attacks on Ukraine on Monday followed a strategic and symbolic blow for Russia: an explosion that partially destroyed the Kerch Bridge, which connects mainland Russia with Crimea, which Moscow illegally annexed in 2014.
Kyiv has not claimed responsibility for the bridge attack, although the blast was widely seen as humiliating for Moscow and another obstacle for Russia to deliver its troops to the occupied territories of southern Ukraine.
Zelenskyy said in his nightly address on Monday that Ukraine would not be intimidated by the strikes and promised that the battlefield would become even more “painful” for Russia in response.
Russian citizens recruited as part of the partial mobilization take part in combat training at the training centers of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) as the Russo-Ukrainian war rages on October 05, 2022 in Donetsk, Ukraine.
Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
Lesia Vasylenko, a Ukrainian lawmaker, agreed. She told CNBC on Tuesday the country was prepared for more Russian attacks.
“We were not intimidated on February 24th [when Russia’s invasion began]we weren’t intimidated eight years ago and we haven’t been intimidated in centuries,” she told CNBC’s Squawk Box Europe.
“The only way to survive this reality is to fight back against the aggression, to fight back against the Russian military.”