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Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Russian leaders face a difficult choice due to ‘exhausted’ armed forces: UK

According to a new intelligence assessment, Russian commanders will likely have to make difficult decisions about making progress in eastern Ukraine or maintaining a “credible defense” of their front line.

Russian forces on the battlefield have “temporarily” exhausted their “combat power.” The British Ministry of Defense announced on Friday that it would not be able to launch large-scale offensives.

Write on TwitterThe government department said Russian leaders will push to replace stockpiles of personnel and ammunition to resume frontline offensives.

Reports of high casualty figures and “hunger”, i.e. lack of ammunition, have been extensively documented by Western and Ukrainian sources in recent months.

In February, the head of Russia’s mercenary Wagner group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, said “mussel hunger” was taking the lives of Russian fighters in Ukraine’s contested eastern regions. He also accused Russian officials like Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu of “treason” over supplying ammunition to front-line fighters, which the Kremlin denied.

A lack of “combat power” resulting from such problems is likely related to Russia conducting some of the fewest offensives since the beginning of the year, the UK Ministry of Defense has said.

Even so, the ministry added, Russian and mercenary forces had gained “bases” to the west of the heavily contested town of Bakhmut. Ukrainian troops are holding the western part of the Donetsk settlement, the ministry said.

Bakhmut was the scene of some of the fiercest fighting of the war. The devastated city has seen months of bombing and clashes between Russian and Ukrainian forces. However, in recent weeks, Western analysts have reported progress for Russia in and around Bakhmut.

US Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley said Thursday that Russia “continues to pay heavily in lives and military equipment for its continued war of its choice.”

In Bakhmut, Moscow’s armed forces are making “small tactical advances” at “big costs,” Milley added during a news conference with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

“Elsewhere, the front line remains relatively static, with significant exchanges of artillery, but without significant maneuver gains on either side,” Milley continued.

On Thursday, The British Ministry of Defense called Bakhmut “Russia’s only notable tactical success in recent times.” In its daily update Thursday, the Washington-based think tank Institute for the Study of War said Russian forces are continuing to advance in and around Bakhmut, particularly in the northwest and southwest of the city .

On Friday morning, the General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces said Russian efforts to “storm” the city had continued, but they had not taken the settlement.

On Thursday, Russia’s Defense Ministry said 275 Ukrainian militants had been killed in Donetsk over the past 24 hours, without providing details of reported casualties in Bakhmut. On Friday morning, Ukrainian officials said 760 Russian soldiers had been killed in the war over the past day, without providing a regional breakdown. None of the numbers could be independently verified news week.

news week emailed the Russian Defense Ministry for comment.

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