On February 24, the Russian President gave the green light for more than 100,000 troops massed on the border with Ukraine to begin their long-awaited aggression into the country. A path of destruction has been left through Ukraine, with buildings hit be missiles and millions of terrified people forced to flee to escape Putin’s brutal regime.
But Russian troops have been met with a courageous and fierce fightback from their Ukrainian counterparts, and have been forced to backtrack out of major cities they had been confident of occupying.
Putin has seen Russia’s army destroyed, with close to 30,000 soldiers dead since the war began three months ago – including dozens of high-ranking officers.
The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has now revealed the full scale of this and said Russia has probably suffered a similar death toll to that experienced by the Soviet Union during its nine year war in Afghanistan.
This has been blamed on a number of elements, including “poor low-level tactics”, warning criticism of the war in Ukraine could surge as the Russian public becomes more aware of these struggles.
The MoD said in its latest intelligence update: “In the first three months of its ‘special military operation’, Russia has likely suffered a similar death toll to that experienced by the Soviet Union during its nine year war in Afghanistan.
“A combination of poor low-level tactics, limited air cover, a lack of flexibility, and a command approach which is prepared to reinforce failure and repeat mistakes has led to this high casualty rate, which continues to rise in the Donbas offensive.
“The Russian public has, in the past, proven sensitive to casualties suffered during wars of choice.
“As casualties suffered in Ukraine continue to rise they will become more apparent, and public dissatisfaction with the war and a willingness to voice it may grow.”
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Its intelligence read: “The Russia-Ukraine war has seen Uncrewed Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) playing a pivotal role for both sides although they have suffered a high rate of attrition.
“UAVs have proved vulnerable both to being shot down and to electronic jamming.
“Russia has attempted to implement the concept of ‘Reconnaissance Strike’ it refined in Syria, which uses reconnaissance UAVs to identify targets to be struck by combat jets or artillery.”
The MoD added: “Russia is likely experiencing a shortage of appropriate reconnaissance UAVs for this task, which is exacerbated by limitations in its domestic manufacturing capacity resulting from sanctions.
“Crewed Russian aircraft mostly continue to avoid conducting sorties over Ukrainian territory, likely because of the threat from intact Ukrainian air defence missiles systems.
“If Russia continues to lose UAVs at its current rate, Russian forces intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability will be further degraded, negatively impacting operational effectiveness.”