Moscow’s microchip shortage could help shape war on Ukraine

Moscow’s microchip shortage could help shape war on Ukraine
Credit: Canva

Six months after Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the country is now struggling with a technology shortage as a result of Western-imposed sanctions. Particularly affecting the efficacy of the Russian arsenal is the inability to access key microchips.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is reportedly seeking to fill this shortage of high-tech parts, according to Politico. Having fired more missiles than they originally expected, the Russian army must increasingly rely on old stockpiles of Soviet-era ammunition.

The Ukrainian Armed Forces, on the other hand, have benefitted from Western weapons to try and turn the tide in a counter-offensive with precise attacks on ammunition depots and key infrastructure such as bridges.

Kyiv is well aware that the outcome of the war in Ukraine may depend on whether Russia finds a way to regain access to high-tech chips, and is therefore committed to ensuring that the Russians cannot get their hands on them.

‘Shopping lists’

Ukraine therefore warns that the Kremlin has prepared "shopping lists" of all kinds of high-tech components, the majority of which are made by companies in the US, Germany, the Netherlands, the UK, Taiwan and Japan.

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Politico was allegedly able to get hold of one of the Russian lists, which even shows the price per item that Russia is willing to pay.

Although the list's provenance could not be determined, two experts in military supplies would confirm that the list matches Russia's current military equipment and needs.

Desperation and scarcity

However, the most sensitive tech parts should be out of reach of Russia due to the sanctions imposed. The question is whether countries like China are willing to buy components and then sell them to Moscow.

According to Politico, Russia is so desperate for high-tech microchips that the government is even removing chips from household appliances such as refrigerators.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal agrees that the technology could prove decisive in the war. "According to our information, the Russians have already exhausted almost half of their arsenal," he told Politico.

Shmyhal also estimates that Russia has only “four dozen” hypersonic missiles left.

“Those missiles are very precise and accurate because of the microchips. Russian sanctions have halted deliveries, and they have no way to replenish those supplies.”

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