The Kremlin turns to prisoners, mercenaries, civilians and reserve veterans to replace the high casualties it suffers in the war
Even the most powerful army in the world cannot be immune to the loss of 37,500 soldiers in a war that lasted barely more than four months. The Russian is paying for all the blood loss in Ukraine, whether the figures released by Kiev and denied by Moscow are true or not. The only thing that has been confirmed is that Vladimir Putin’s infantry did not play the main role in the Nazis’ first Blitzkrieg (lightning war).
His forces have long been stagnant on the fronts of Donbas, to the east, and Odessa, to the south, forcing them to base the offensive solely on bombing with aircraft or missiles. But no conflagration is won without the soldiers putting their boots on enemy territory, and for that the Kremlin needs new shipments of soldiers. This circumstance has forced the Ministry of Defense to resort to non-traditional recruitment methods.
If the invasion was initially carried out with young people in military service, now, according to British intelligence, the shortage of replacements and the copious desertions are forcing them to recruit prisoners serving sentences or veterans who have been retired for more than a decade. . years and most of them are older than 45 years. In addition, more and more reliance is placed on the Wagner group’s mercenaries – until now only used in special high-risk missions – to replace the large number of fallen on the battlefield. Likewise, many of the professional soldiers stationed on Ukrainian soil have refused to renew their contracts.
The most effective solution for Russia would be to declare a general mobilization, but the Putin administration fears this will lead to a reduction in popular support for the invasion among civilians. There is a risk that the Russians will associate the invasion of Ukraine with military disasters of the past, such as those in Afghanistan or Chechnya.
In addition, it would take between three and six months to prepare the new fighters. Faced with these difficulties, according to military strategy experts, a “stealth mobilization” has been chosen to allow the “special military operation” to go ahead.
All this accumulation of difficulties and miscalculations has also led, according to British sources, to Moscow forcibly recruiting Ukrainians from the conquered territories, based on laws in place in the enclaves dominated by pro-Russian separatists since 2014.
Moscow also ‘fillet’ in Transnistria, the occupied territory of Moldova, where a Soviet-era base houses 2,500 soldiers and an arsenal of 40,000 tons of ammunition. There are also about 15,000 reservists in the region, aged around 50, who seem to be tempted by important economic incentives ranging between 2,000 and 5,000 euros monthly salary.
These “job openings” are in many cases managed over the Internet, where Russia is also trying to attract combat engineers, paratroopers and experts in the use of grenade launchers, as “The New York Times” assures.
The Kremlin has asked for help from its allies in the former Soviet republics of Central Asia, such as Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan or Armenia, who prefer not to get involved in the war. Only Lukashenko’s Belarus has always been on a par with Russia and is helping to continue feeding the invading forces and correcting the “significant losses” admitted by the Kremlin that could reach a third of the troops that attacked on 24 February. crossing the Ukrainian border.
The lack of progress and the wear and tear of men means the war is at a standstill and threatens to drag on over time as a low-intensity conflict in which, according to the Institute for the Study of War (IWS), it will force Moscow to launch “offensive perform operations that yield limited profit” and instead claim “a great human cost”.
This would explain the latest moves on the battlefield, where a Russian withdrawal is seen in southern Ukraine to focus on Donbas, a very limited area relative to Putin’s initial ambitions.
Source: La Verdad
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