The Kyiv Post reported this week that Russia “intensified the use of operational and tactical aircraft and air reconnaissance” in recent days and has inflicted “systematic airstrikes on military and civilian targets, including long-range aircraft.”
On Thursday, CNN reported that Russia “continues to bolster their forces inside Ukraine” as Russian troops refocus on taking control of eastern Ukraine. The Russian military has reportedly added three additional battalion tactical groups in the east since Wednesday, bringing the total number of battalion tactical groups to 85.
An unnamed senior U.S. defense official told reporters that most of the BTGs are going to the Donbas region, where they will focus on achieving Russian President Vladimir Putin’s goal of “liberating” the self-styled People’s Republic of Luhansk and People’s Republic of Donetsk.
“Most of them we will assess are going into the Donbas region, but I caution this by saying we don’t know, we don’t know exactly what unit is where on any given day specifically, but that’s where we’re assessing that we’re going,” the source said.
Russia’s Weapons Supply Chain Problems
While Russia is replenishing troops in the east of Ukraine, the Russian army is suffering a broad shortage of weapons and ammunition. Sanctions implemented by the West may not have stopped Putin’s military operation in Ukraine, but they have impacted the weapons supply chain.
It is becoming increasingly difficult for Russia to build and supply new weapons, or even provide spare parts for military vehicles that have been damaged in the war.
One senior U.S. defense official told The War Zone this week that Russia’s substantial losses on the battlefield are hurting its military particularly badly given how economic sanctions have disrupted their ability to replace lost weapons and vehicles.
“There has been an effect on Putin’s ability to restock and resupply, particularly in the realm of components to some of his systems and his precision-guided munitions,” the U.S. official told The War Zone.
“They’ve already faced an issue in terms of replenishing their inventory because of components to some of those systems. And that’s already had a practical effect on Putin.”
While the official didn’t go into details about what weapons supply chains have been affected and how, Russian media reports confirmed that the A-100 Premier, the next-generation airborne early warning and control aircraft, has seen its production stalled as a result of a lack of electronic components that were due to be delivered from Western countries.
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.