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Russia generates new forces almost equivalent to current war losses – ISW

Sunday, 25 February 2024, 05:48
Russia generates new forces almost equivalent to current war losses – ISW
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Russia has been generating new forces at a rate roughly equivalent to its current casualties, but it is unclear whether it will be able to sustain offensive operations in the same way at a higher operational level with even greater losses.

Source: Institute for the Study of War (ISW)

Details: Analysts note that despite the fact that Russia has seized the initiative on the battlefield, the Russian army suffers from many of the same weaknesses that Ukraine has learned to exploit. And the combined economic power of Ukraine's allies is many times greater than Russia's.


The report adds that Putin remains a mortal threat to both NATO and Ukraine.

For months, the Kremlin has been creating the conditions for hybrid warfare operations in the Baltic States and Finland and is currently conducting such operations against Moldova.

Experts point out that Putin's goals remain the destruction of NATO as an effective alliance, the severing of ties between the United States and Europe, and the construction of a new world order in which Russia's voice and power will dominate.

The interests of the US, Europe and American allies in Asia and around the world are inextricably linked to helping Ukraine defeat Russia.

According to Russian media estimates, more than 75,000 Russian servicemen have been killed in Ukraine since the start of the full-scale invasion in February 2022.

Russian media analysed data from Russian agencies that recorded the deaths of its citizens. As a result, they indicated that from February 2022 to December 2023, between 66,000 and 88,000 Russian servicemen died in the war.

Russian media outlets Medusa and Mediazone extrapolated the current monthly death toll of Russian military personnel in Ukraine to January and February 2024 and estimated that approximately 83,000 Russian servicemen have been killed since the start of the full-scale invasion.

They noted that the number of Russian military deaths in Ukraine began to rise steadily after the start of localised Russian offensives in eastern Ukraine in October 2023 and added that since mid-2023, the majority of those killed have been Russian volunteers.

According to US intelligence estimates, as of December 2023, the Russian forces had lost 315,000 people since the start of the full-scale invasion.

The review notes that the Medusa and Mediazone estimates are consistent with the US estimate, based on the standard ratio of wounded to killed for Russian troops in Ukraine – three to one.

The analysts add that Russian troops are currently sustaining offensive operations in Ukraine despite these heavy losses by "relying on crypto-mobilisation".

"Russia is generating new forces roughly at a rate equivalent to current Russian losses, which allows Russian forces to consistently reinforce attacking units and regularly conduct operational-level rotations," citing analysed data.

It is noted: "It is unclear if Russia would be able to sustain offensive operations in the same way at a higher operational tempo that would generate even greater losses, however."

To quote the ISW’s Key Takeaways on 24 February:

  • Ukraine continues to defend against Russian aggression and the Kremlin’s attempt to destroy Ukrainian statehood and identity despite growing difficulties two years after the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion.
  • Ukraine’s European and Canadian partners commemorated the second anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion by committing additional aid to Ukraine and discussing Ukraine’s integration into the European Union (EU).
  • Russian opposition media estimated that upwards of 75,000 Russian personnel have died in Ukraine since the start of the full-scale invasion in February 2022.
  • The Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD) continues to highlight Russian Central Grouping of Forces Commander Colonel General Andrei Mordvichev and Russia’s seizure of Avdiivka.
  • Mordvichev highlighted Russian technological and tactical adaptations in the Russian seizure of Avdiivka in a likely effort to address persistent criticisms of Russian forces in Ukraine.
  • Senior Russian military officials likely are attempting to deflect responsibility for high-profile apparent Russian war crimes away from themselves and onto mid- and low-level Russian commanders.
  • A recent Russian opinion poll indicates that Russian sentiments about the war in Ukraine have largely remained unchanged in recent months but notably suggests that another mobilisation wave would be widely unpopular.
  • Ukrainian special services conducted a drone strike on one of Russia’s largest metallurgical plants on the night of 23-24 February.
  • Ukrainian reporting indicated that the A-50 long-range radar detection aircraft shot down on 23 February temporarily halted Russian aviation operations elsewhere in the theatre.
  • Russian information space actors continued responding to the 23 February A-50 shootdown and largely denied that Ukraine is responsible for the downing of any recent Russian aircraft.
  • Russian forces recently made confirmed advances near Bakhmut and Avdiivka and in western Zaporizhzhia Oblast amid continued positional engagements along the entire line of contact on 24 February.
  • Indian authorities have asked Russian authorities for the "early discharge" of Indian citizens fighting for Russia in Ukraine.
  • The Russian government continues efforts to support infrastructure and logistics development in occupied Ukraine, likely to support the Russian defence industrial base (DIB) and solidify Russian control over occupied areas.

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