Putin has a problem.
His , intended as a days-long operation, is now grinding into its third week and becoming a bloodbath. Attacks across the country are stalled amid predictions that Russia will soon struggle to hold the territory it has – let alone capture more.
In short: he needs more men for the meat grinder.
But where to find them? America estimates Russia has committed somewhere between half and three quarters of its total land forces to Ukraine, and all of those are already involved in the fighting.Some ‘spare’ units will be involved in active missions elsewhere, while others will be for territorial defence – leaving the country vulnerable to attack if they are sent abroad.
That conundrum has forced the Kremlin to reach far from the frontlines in search of men, according to Britain’s Ministry of Defence, which says reinforcements are now being drawn from as far afield as eastern Siberia, the Pacific Fleet, and .That is in addition to Syrian fighters and paid mercenaries – hundreds of the from the shadowy Wagner Group – which have already been committed to the fight.
The UK believes such reinforcements would likely be used to hold Ukrainian territory already captured by Russia which would then free up regular units for fresh assaults – almost certainly targeting major cities like , , Odessa and Chernihiv.Another goal would likely be to encircle a large number of Ukrainian forces in the Donbass, spread out along the old frontline with Russian-backed rebel groups.
But it is unclear whether those reinforcements will be effective.Some could take weeks to reach the front, while Syrian mercenaries are likely to be poorly trained and un-used to the terrain and climate of eastern Europe. In the meantime, Ukraine claims it is successfully counter-attacking Putin’s men and ‘radically changing’ the battlefield.
Russia is looking to reinforce its armies in Ukraine after suffering heavy losses, British intelligence believes, but is being forced to draw men from its Eastern Military District, the Pacific Fleet, Armenia and Syria because it has committed such a large number of troops to the conflict already
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