The Russian Military Is Getting Weaker as Ukraine Grows Stronger

The Russian Military Is Getting Weaker as Ukraine Grows Stronger. By Robert Farley.

Reports from Russia indicate that the system of training and mobilization, which had fallen into disrepair since the collapse of the Soviet Union, may have suffered badly during the first months of this conflict. The Russian Army may well have cannibalized its training formations in order to provide a short-term manpower boost at the front. If true, this means that troops will arrive at the front lines with only minimal training, likely incurring huge casualties.

The Russians have also lost substantial amounts of modern equipment, and while Russian industry can capably turn out low-tech munitions it does not appear to have the capacity to manufacture tanks or aircraft at a rate that can replace losses. Could Russia buy enough equipment to keep its force sufficiently capitalized? Probably not, unless China decides to intervene in the conflict in a major way. Russian purchases of Iranian drones have already made an impact on the war, but are unlikely in quantity or effectively to prove decisive. Russia’s fixed-wing aircraft losses have been extreme, to the degree that Russian aircraft no longer provide basic support for the front lines.

Jim Dunnigan, on the huge disparity in motivation:

Ukrainian forces have learned to exploit this Russian reluctance to fight in Ukraine. Russian soldiers are given opportunities to surrender or desert, and few choose to stand and fight because the Ukrainians have a well-deserved reputation for defeating Russians who stand and fight.

Russia recently passed a law that makes any Russian prisoner-of-war in Ukraine subject to a ten-year prison term unless he can escape Ukrainian captivity.

Usually, it’s only the commander of the Russian units who wants to fight. Most of their troops prefer less violent solutions to the problem. This has led to heavy losses among officers who died trying to get their reluctant troops to fight.

There were a lot of Russian troops willing to fight in February but as the months went by the Ukrainians were better at it while most of the invaders have lost any enthusiasm for fighting. …

Determined Ukrainians versus reluctant Russian troops is a major problem for the Russian government and Vladimir Putin’s solution is to increase the Russian threats to use nuclear weapons. …

Putin alone cannot detonate a nuke in Russia. That requires a number of reliable and willing Russian military specialists to do. These men are well aware that this would be the first use of nukes since World War II and likely to result in Western retaliation by NATO members that also have nukes. …

Both Iran and North Korea see the Putin nuclear threats as the most realistic use of nuclear blackmail yet attempted and are very much hoping Putin will win his gamble.

So Putin’s choice is to gracefully retreat from Ukraine and admit defeat, or stay in Ukraine and use nukes to defend his gains.