Ukraine War Update: On day 136 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Russian military paused major offensive operations in the Donbas and is regenerating combat power for the next push toward the Donetsk province.
Reserves? Where are my Reserves for Ukraine?
Russian President Vladimir Putin hasn’t declared war on Ukraine, and as a result, he can’t mobilize the Russian economy or tap on the country’s vast reserves of manpower. Although he and his Kremlin advisors are trying to covertly mobilize Russia through legal loopholes and sketchy means, thus far, they have failed to produce enough men to fully staff the frontline units that are engaged in the fighting in Ukraine.
“Russia is moving reserve forces from across the country and assembling them near Ukraine for future offensive operations,” the British Military Intelligence assessed.
To be sure, Russian commanders haven’t run out of men yet. But they are struggling to replenish the casualties they are suffering every day. In the last 24 hours, for example, the Ukrainians have claimed to kill 300 Russians and wounded up to 600. These numbers are unsustainable without a full mobilization of the reserves.
“A large proportion of the new infantry units are probably deploying with MT-LB armoured vehicles taken from long-term storage as their primary transport. While MT-LBs have previously been in service in support roles on both sides, Russia has long considered them unsuitable for most front-line infantry transport roles. It was originally designed in the 1950s as a tractor to pull artillery, has very limited armour, and only mounts a machine gun for protection,” the British Ministry of Defense added.
And in war, not all men are created equal. A reservist who hasn’t touched a weapon in a decade isn’t the same as a professional soldier who has spent years honing his warfighting skills. Moscow is increasingly forced to rely on the former as its cadre of professional troops is dying in Ukraine.
“In contrast, most of Russia’s first echelon assault units were equipped with BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicles in February, featuring armour up to 33mm thick and mounting a powerful 30mm autocannon and an anti-tank missile launcher,” the British Ministry of Defense stated.
“Despite President Putin’s claim on 07 July 2022 that the Russian military has ‘not even started’ its efforts in Ukraine, many of its reinforcements are ad hoc groupings, deploying with obsolete or inappropriate equipment,” the British Military Intelligence assessed.
Russian Casualties in Ukraine: What We Know
The Russian military continues to suffer heavy casualties in Ukraine.
Overall, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Saturday, Ukrainian forces have killed approximately 37,200 Russian troops (and wounded approximately thrice that number), destroyed 217 fighter, attack, and transport jets, 187 attack and transport helicopters, 1,638 tanks, 832 artillery pieces, 3,815 armored personnel carriers, 247 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 15 boats and cutters, 2,687 vehicles and fuel tanks, 108 anti-aircraft batteries, 674 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 66 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 155 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses.
Sadly, there seems no end in sight for the war in Ukraine.
1945’s New Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist specializing in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. His work has been featured in Business Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP.