Since the early months of their all-out invasion of Ukraine, russian forces have relied on heavy artillery bombardment known as "artillery wave tactics" here in Ukraine. They never looked back at their ammunition spending, firing thousands of shells from their vast Soviet warstocks on a daily basis.
However, the tides have been slowly turning, and now they cannot afford such a rate of fire anymore, because in the 11th month of the war, in some places the rate of fire has been reduced by nearly 75%, CNN reports with reference to US and Ukrainian officials.
Read more: The russians Brought the Most Powerful Artillery Systems to Bakhmut, But They May Run out of Ammunition
As noted by CNN, there is no clear explanation why the russians slowed down the gunfire:
"Russia may be rationing artillery rounds due to low supplies, or it could be part of a broader reassessment of tactics in the face of successful Ukrainian offenses."
In reality, there might be a complex of reasons, such as the miscalculations of the russian commanders who were going to "take Kyiv in three days" and not considering the amount of shells they use. Another such factor is the arrival of HIMARS long-range rocket launchers in the ranks of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, allowing them to demolish russian warehouses with supplies 80 km deep into the rear.
"Either way, the striking decline in artillery fire is further evidence of Russia’s increasingly weak position on the battlefield nearly a year into its invasion," US and Ukrainian officials told CNN.
Counting shells would be a thankless task in this case but we can recall open media sources and carefully assess that russia fired off about 40 to 70 thousand artillery rounds per day in the early days of the invasion. Now, the rate of fire has fallen to around 10 to 17 thousand; once again, the numbers are uneven across the frontline.
As for the Ukrainian Defense Forces, the number might be close to 5 to 7 thousand per day. Although we should note that thanks to the help provided by Ukraine's allies, the difference in quantity is compensated by quality, as it is the case with Excalibur precision shells.
As Defense Express earlier reported, UK defense intelligence suggests that russia’s current stockpiles of artillery ammunition don’t allow it to launch large-scale offensive operations anymore.
Read more: russia Spends 20,000 Artillery Shells Per Day, Production Cannot Keep Up With Such Rates – Ukraine's Intelligence Chief