The Russian push in eastern Ukraine this fall and winter was designed to sap Western support for Ukraine, according to a newly declassified American intelligence assessment.
The drive has resulted in heavy losses but has not led to strategic gains on the battlefield for Russia, said Adrienne Watson, a spokeswoman for the National Security Council.
Since the beginning of the war Russia has suffered from a staggeringly high number of losses, according to another newly declassified assessment shared with Congress. At the start of the war the Russian army stood at 360,000 troops. Russia has lost 315,000 of those troops, forcing them to recruit and mobilize new recruits and convicts from their prison system.
Moscow’s equipment has also been crushed, according to the assessment. At the start of the war, Russia had 3,500 tanks but has lost 2,200, forcing them to pull 50 year old T-62 tanks from storage.
The assessment says the Russian losses have reduced the complexity of Russia’s recent military operations in Ukraine.
“The war in Ukraine has sharply set back 15 years of Russian effort to modernize its ground force,” the declassified assessment said. “As of late November, Russia had lost over a quarter of its pre-2022 stockpile of ground forces equipment and has suffered casualties among its trained professional army.”
In the most recent push, Russia has suffered more than 13,000 people killed and wounded and lost more than 220 combat vehicles while fighting near Avdiivka and other cities, Ms. Watson said. [Continue reading…]