Russia Struggles to Maintain Offense, Vulnerable to Counterattack – Britain

Russia is increasingly struggling to maintain an effective offensive engagement in Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine despite heavy casualties, Britain’s Defense Ministry said on Tuesday.

Britain’s Defense Ministry said in an intelligence update that as Russia grapples with “severe undermanning,” Putin’s army must decide whether to deploy troops to its goal of conquering Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region or prevent Ukrainian counterattacks elsewhere.

“Russia has struggled to maintain an effective offensive combat capability since the beginning of the invasion and this problem is likely to become more acute,” the UK MoD said. Britain is a vocal supporter of Ukraine and has sent military equipment to help its military fight Russian forces.

“Apart from the massive undermanning, Russian planners face the dilemma of sending reserves to the Donbass or defending against Ukrainian counterattacks in the southwestern Kherson sector.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting of the Presidential Council on Strategic Development and National Projects via video link at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow on July 18, 2022.

The updates come almost 5 months after Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and as Moscow seeks to fully conquer the Donbass region – which includes Luhansk and Donetsk. Moscow claimed to have liberated Luhansk earlier this month, and now fighting is intensifying in the Donetsk region.

The ministry said Russia will continue to deploy nominally six separate armies for its Donbass offensive.

“At full strength, these formations were set up for around 150,000 personnel before the invasion,” it said, noting that Russia has often operated with company-sized groupings of around 100 personnel in recent weeks when conducting offensive operations in a sector at a time .

The United Kingdom indicated that while Russia could make further territorial gains, its operational pace and rate of progress would likely be very slow without a significant operational pause for restructuring and re-armament.

Russia’s armed forces were on an “operational pause” ordered by Putin to allow troops to rest and reposition for future advances. A report by the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) on Saturday said Russia failed to repair its “ad hoc” command structure during the pause in operations.

“The Kremlin’s failure to use the operational pause to reorganize the Russian military command structure in Ukraine and its decision to instead maintain an ad hoc command structure is very strange,” the ISW report said.

“The apparent dual command of two very senior generals over operations in a very small area may hamper the further development of Russian operations,” it added.

The ISW said in a separate report on Sunday that the Kremlin was continuing “a measured return” from the pause in Ukraine.

news week has asked the Russian Foreign Ministry for comment. Russia Struggles to Maintain Offense, Vulnerable to Counterattack – Britain

Rick Schindler

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