The Russian military has been fighting in Ukraine for more than 20 months. During that time, the Russian forces have suffered more than 300,000 casualties killed, wounded, and captured.
The duration and intensity of the conflict have had an unintentional outcome. As many as 100,000 Russian troops suffer from mental health issues as a result of the war.
The Russian Military’s Mental Breakdown
One major source of psychological distress to the Russian troops is war fatigue. The Russian military has had an extremely hard time rotating forces to and from the frontlines. Although that has changed recently in the Zaporizhzhia Oblast, where the heaviest fighting is currently taking place, for months, the Russian military leadership didn’t have enough forces to allow frontline units to rest and recuperate. As a result, troops went on to fight on the frontlines for months on end.
“This was a problem highlighted by multiple commanders, including the former 58th Combined Arms Army’s General-Major Ivan Popov who was relieved of command in July 2023,” the British Military Intelligence assessed.
The persistent force generation problems that plague the Russian military are forcing Russian hospitals to send back to the frontlines people who are unfit.
“There are additional indications that doctors in Russia are sending military personnel who are unfit to fight to the front. Appeal claims against Russian military medical commissions are higher in 2023 than they were in 2022, with many cases denied or claims abandoned,” the British Military Intelligence stated.
“With a lack of care for its soldiers’ mental health and fitness to fight, Russia’s combat fighting effectiveness continues to operate at sub-optimal levels,” the British Military Intelligence added.
Meanwhile, on day 595 of the war in Ukraine, the Russian military and pro-Russian separatist forces continue to take extremely heavy losses on the ground.
For the first time in a while, the Russian forces suffered extremely heavy losses in a single day. Over the past 24 hours, Moscow lost more than 800 men killed, wounded, or captured in the fighting, as well as almost 200 heavy weapon systems and support vehicles.
The losses likely reflect Russian counterattacks on the front. Moscow has been using an elastic defense with frequent small-scale counterattacks to defend against the Ukrainian counteroffensive.
Overall, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Wednesday, Ukrainian forces have killed and wounded approximately 283,900 Russian troops, destroyed 322 fighter, attack, bomber, and transport jets, 316 attack and transport helicopters, 4,863 tanks, 6,731 artillery pieces, 9,290 armored personnel carriers, and infantry fighting vehicles, 809 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 21 warships, submarines, boats, and cutters, 9,145 vehicles, and fuel tanks, 545 anti-aircraft batteries, 5,226 tactical unmanned aerial systems and suicide drones, 965 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 1,530 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses.
A 19FortyFive Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist specializing in special operations and a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ). He holds a BA from the Johns Hopkins University, an MA from the Johns Hopkins’ School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), and is pursuing a J.D. at Boston College Law School. His work has been featured in Business Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP.