According to British defense analysts, many of the newly mobilized soldiers Moscow has sent to the front line in Ukraine in recent weeks are armed with “barely usable” weapons.

In September, the Kremlin announced the partial mobilization of up to 300,000 reservists, but the Defense Ministry believes they may have been using weapons from the 1950s.

Recently deployed Russian reservists are believed to be “in many cases” “poorly equipped” as Moscow struggles with “strained logistics systems”.

Images from open sources suggest that troops received rifles of a type that may be more than 60 years old.

An intelligence update posted by the Department of Defense on Twitter said: “In September, Russian the officers were concerned that some recently mobilized reservists were arriving here Ukraine without weapons.

“Photos from open sources indicate that those rifles issued to mobilized reservists are typically AKM assault rifles, a weapon first introduced in 1959. Many of them are probably in an unusable condition after bad storage.

Photo from the AKM file in 1971. Photo: Wikicommons/Swedish Army Museum

“The AKM fires 7.62 mm cartridges, while Russian regular combat units are mainly armed with 5.45 mm AK-74M or AK-12 rifles.

“The integration of reservists with contract soldiers and veterans of combat operations in Ukraine will mean that Russian logisticians will have to transfer not one, but two types of small arms to forward positions.

“This is likely to further complicate Russia’s already strained logistics systems.”

AKM is an assault rifle developed by Soviet firearms designer Mikhail Kalashnikov as a replacement for the better-known AK-47. Specialists say that this is the most common of the Kalashnikov assault rifles.

It is still in use worldwide, but was officially replaced in Soviet front-line service by the AK-74 in the late 1970s.

This happened against the background of renewed Russian airstrikes on Ukrainian infrastructure.

Ukraine war live: 80% of Kyiv without water as Russia strikes key infrastructure – and emergency blackouts begin

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Smoke billows from Dnieper hydroelectric plant after Russia strikes critical infrastructure

More than 50 rockets were fired into Ukraine overnight, a marked increase compared to attacks over the past eight months.

Sean Bell, a retired air vice marshal, told Sky News that Vladimir Putin was targeting non-military targets in an attempt to demoralize and terrorize the population of Ukraine.

“The irony is that for most Ukrainians it will have the exact opposite effect, it will galvanize their support and strengthen their resolve,” he said.

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