Russia has taken its production of both ammunition and tanks into wartime mode. Despite struggling more to manufacture missiles, it's clear Russia still has access to Western technology required for production, former commander of the Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) Riho Terras said Sunday.
In an appearance on ETV's "Ukraina stuudios," retired Gen. and MEP Riho Terras (Isamaa/EPP) acknowledged that no one outside Russia knows much about the arms industry there, but it's clear that they can't produce their own microchips.
This means that despite sanctions, they still have access to advanced Western technology, he pointed out.
"The sanctions in place are not working, which means we have to do everything we can to ensure that these sanctions work, and examine what means exist to evade sanctions," the MEP said.
He said that it can be assumed that some of this Western technology is reaching Russia via China, but chips from household appliances will do in a pinch as well.
"Russia's arms industry is quite adept at adapting," Terras said. "It's a competition, really – one imposes sanctions, the other attempts to evade them."
Said arms industry is working at full steam, he continued.
"Ammunition production has certainly been taken into wartime mode, meaning that production doesn't stop," he explained. "Tanks and armored vehicle production is also underway. Missiles are crucial, but as we can see, there are few missiles, meaning they aren't capable of producing as many. When you hear that they're bringing out 10 m missiles produced in 1952, that's well-nigh absurd."
North Korea wouldn't be able to help Russia out with modern military equipment. China could, the former longtime EDF chief acknowledged, however no one has heard anything about China supplying Russia with military equipment.
"We can't compare China with North Korea, or Iran with North Korea," Terras said. "North Korea is still an absolutely failed state; everything produced there is without a doubt to a worse standard than during even the worst times in the Soviet Union. But mass plays a role here."
China is militarily superior, and they have a lot of licensed Russian arms that would suit Russia, he highlighted.
"But I haven't heard any reports of China directly supplying Russia with arms," he continued. "Iran has high-level drones; that's also cutting-edge Western technology. So – sanctions, sanctions, sanctions are what will solve this."
Commenting on the European defense industry, the MEP noted that even if the pledged million shells are delivered to Ukraine, that isn't a solution, as that's the minimum the Ukrainians need. However, it's evident in the case of Germany, for example, that they've started taking supporting Ukraine seriously, as indicated even by an increased number of defense industry orders that have been placed by the state.
"But for European defense industries to coordinate anything that would make things cheaper and faster – well, there's no such sign of this yet," Terras admitted. "And these things take an awful lot of time since we're still lacking that sense of urgency."
Editor: Aili Vahtla