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Russia is poorer than they want you to know and this war is more than they can afford.

Posted by John Reed on

Given its population, Russia is a relatively poor country on a per capita basis. 
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The large explosions happening more or less constantly in Ukraine are quite expensive. In Vietnam, I was a platoon leader in a mixed heavy artillery battalion (self-propelled 8-inch and 175mm cannons http://www.quanloi.org/OtherBatteries/Charlie%20Battery/BillPoseyPhotos/Gallery%202/BIllPoseyVNPhotoGallery2Page.htm) for a while. Every round they fired costs a bunch. Around $1,000 each nowadays. The most expensive US artillery shell the Excalibur, costs $140,000 each. The self-propelled cannons cost about $1,000,000 each and I am guessing they need lots of maintenance because the violence of what they do every time they fire has to wear out the parts.
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Cruise missiles cost about $2,000,000 each. The other rockets they fire likely cost thousands each.
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And that does not count the fuel, pay, food, and all the support needed to put the weapons in or near the battle area and defend  and operate it.
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I suspect Russia is pretending they can keep this up forever. No, they cannot. Too expensive. They do not have a bottomless pit of cruise missiles. It appears pretty certain that the Russians have most of their entire army and its equipment and ammo in this operation. They would like us to believe that this is just a small part of their superpower army. Nope. They are already having to call up reserves to supplement the units in contact with the Ukrainians.
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All of which means the longer the Ukrainians can make this last the closer the Russians get to the bottom of their manpower and supplies barrel.

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