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Putin Has a Problem: Russia Has Suffered ‘Devastating Losses’ of Junior Officers

Russian solider. Image Credit: Vitaly V. Kuzmin.
Russian solider. Image Credit: Vitaly V. Kuzmin.

Putin seems to have another headache to contend with in Ukraine: Russia has suffered “devastating losses” among its mid- and junior-level officers in Ukraine, degrading its ability to fight, UK intelligence claimed Monday.

Britain’s Ministry of Defence said the high death toll was likely caused by the expectation that junior officers expose themselves to the most dangerous parts of the fighting.

Western officials estimate that some 15,000 Russians have been killed in the invasion. Ukraine on Saturday claimed to have killed 30,000, while Russia has not given recent figures of its own.

“Brigade and battalion commanders likely deploy forwards into harm’s way because they are held to an uncompromising level of responsibility for their units’ performance,” the MoD said.

“Similarly, junior officers have had to lead the lowest level tactical actions, as the army lacks the cadre of highly trained and empowered non-commissioned officers (NCOs) who fulfil that role in Western forces.”

It added: “The loss of large proportion of the younger generation of professional officers will likely exacerbate its ongoing problems in modernising its approach to command and control.”

Earlier this month, the Ukrainian Defence Ministry’s main intelligence directorate released a recording which appeared to show Russian troops openly mocking the “stupid” war.

Senior commanders have been fired for poor performance, and other have been killed.

The UK said in a previous update that Russia had such a lack of trained soldiers that Russia has been forced to rely on a ragtag group of men, including supporters of Chechen warlord Ramzan Kadyrov, to bolster numbers.

Catherine Neilan is Insider’s senior UK political editor.

Written By

Catherine Neilan is Insider's senior UK political editor.