The Russian military continues to experience manpower issues despite overt and covert measures to recruit more men to fight in Ukraine.
Simply put: Russia is bleeding out in Ukraine.
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On day 334 of the conflict, the Russian forces in Ukraine are still being plagued by the same problems: poor morale, awful training, sketchy logistics, and no viable strategy.
The Russian Casualties & Force Generation
On the ground, the Russian forces continue to suffer extremely heavy casualties.
Right now, the combined Russian military and Wagner Group mercenary forces are losing, on average, upwards of 500 men on a daily basis.
Indeed, on some days, the Ukrainians are reporting Russian casualties of even more than 800 men. In the first three weeks of the new year, the Russian forces have lost more than 15,000 troops killed or wounded, according to the official Ukrainian estimates.
The Kremlin can’t afford to lose so many men on a daily basis, especially with the spring counteroffensives just around the corner.
The Russian Ministry of Defense has created a reserve of around 150,000 men, and it is holding it back to support future large-scale offensive operations. But if this high rate of casualties continues, then the Russian military leadership might be forced to pool from its reserves to plug gaps in the Frontline units.
Doing so, however, would undermine the potential of my future counter-offensives.
The Kremlin has also announced plans to enlarge to Russian military by approximately 500,000 men in the next three years.
That goal, however, remains unrealistic while the demands of the war in Ukraine continue to draw men and weapon systems.
In addition, Russian forces have lost 229 vehicles of all types, 201 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, 148 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 130 artillery pieces, 121 main battle tanks, 24 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 8 helicopters, 7 air defense systems, and 4 fighter, attack, bomber, or transport aircraft.
Overall, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Monday, Ukrainian forces have killed approximately 121,480 Russian troops (and wounded approximately twice to thrice that number).
Equipment destroyed includes: 287 fighter, attack, bomber, and transport jets, 277 attack and transport helicopters, 3,150 tanks, 2,146 artillery pieces, 6,276 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, 447 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 18 boats and cutters, 4,936 vehicles and fuel tanks, 220 anti-aircraft batteries, 1,894 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 193 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 749 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses.
Meanwhile, in Ukraine…
Meanwhile, the Ukrainian military continues to put up a fierce resistance all across the battlefield. The Ukrainian forces have also been suffering heavy losses. Kyiv hasn’t been very transparent about its losses in order to maintain the morale of the population. But it is safe to assume that the Ukrainian military is losing approximately 100 to 200 men every day, killed or wounded.
Kyiv has the manpower reserves, but it would be in a much better position if the West—particularly Germany—provided what the Ukrainian forces want the most right now: Tanks.
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Expert Biography: A 19FortyFive 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. He is currently working towards a Master’s Degree in Strategy and Cybersecurity at the Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). His work has been featured in Business Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP.