UK Defence Intelligence has said that Moscow and St Petersburg remain "relatively unscathed" in light of the heavy casualties Russia is suffering in Ukraine. The insulation of the better-off and more influential members of Russian society will likely remain a major consideration.
Source: UK Defence Intelligence update from 12 March 2023
Details: UK Defence Intelligence noted that though Russia continues to suffer extremely heavy casualties in the war, the impact varies dramatically across Russia’s regions.
"In proportion to the size of their population, the richest cities of Moscow and St Petersburg have been left relatively unscathed. This is especially true for the families of the country’s elite," the agency said.
On 21 February 2023, Russian senior officials were photographed making up the front two rows of the audience of President Putin’s state of the nation speech. None of these are known to have children serving in the military.
"In many of the Eastern regions, deaths are likely running, as a percentage of population, at a rate [more than] 30 times higher than in Moscow. In places, ethnic minorities take the biggest hit; in Astrakhan some 75% of casualties come from the minority Kazakh and Tartar populations," UK Defence Intelligence explained.
"As the Russian Ministry of Defence seeks to address its continued deficit of combat personnel, insulating the better-off and more influential elements of Russian society will highly likely remain a major consideration," the report concludes.
Previously: Avril Haines, Director of US National Intelligence, said during an appearance on 8 March before the Senate Intelligence Committee that Russia lacks the ammunition and troops to make major territorial gains in Ukraine this year and could shift to a hold-and-defend strategy, dragging out the war.