“The Russians have had logistical problems from the very beginning” of the invasion of Ukraine and “they are still struggling with logistics,” Austin told a group of reporters aboard a military plane.
They are “suffering from a significant shortage of artillery missiles”, particularly as Kiev has destroyed several stockpiles of Russian munitions, the Pentagon chief said.
Russia has used its artillery extensively since the beginning of the war, firing countless rockets at Ukrainian troops before there was any movement on the ground.
“You need a lot of ammunition for this kind of operation. I’m not sure they have enough to allow this kind of thing in the future,” he added.
Austin said Russian stockpiles of precision missiles had been “significantly reduced” during the nine-month war and that Moscow would not be able to replace them any time soon due to trade sanctions against Russia, particularly for microprocessors.
Russia fired a total of about 70 cruise missiles at Ukraine on Wednesday, 51 of which were shot down, the Ukrainian Air Force said after the bombing caused massive blackouts.