On Wednesday, as Ukraine marked its independence day, Vladimir Putin officially signed an order to increase the number of slots in the Russian military to over two million. While this may seem impressive, it was clearly an announcement with only symbolic value, given the total number of people currently in the Russian military. as well Less than a million. There are plenty of empty helmets to fill – assuming Russia can find the helmets.
On Thursday, Putin announced that he intended to follow up his symbolic bump by adding 137,000 actual troops to the army’s total strength. Only … from where?
Since the beginning of the invasion, there have been reports that Russia has had to engage in everything from bribery to coercion to sign people up as contract soldiers. And yet, many drawn into Ukraine have refused to fight. As Radio Free Europe put it last month:
Nearly five months into the biggest war in Europe since World War II, a growing number of Russian soldiers are… refusing to fight, demanding to return home, or not going directly to Ukraine. is Russian rights activists say hundreds, possibly thousands, of troops are defying orders to deploy, continue fighting, or stay on the battlefield without moving out or home.
At one point, Russia reportedly had at least 26 battalion tactical groups at Izyum, and even then Izyum was barely able to advance over a period of months. Over the past two weeks, Russia has actually lost ground in the region and is reportedly withdrawing troops from the city in what marks one of its biggest victories in the offensive. Rumors on both Twitter and Telegram placed much of the blame for the failure in the area on Russian troops who refused to fight.
Given that Russia continues to engage in a daily ritual of “spying by force” in which it engages in dozens of failed attacks to determine the disposition of Ukrainian troops, each of them mini-invasions With what is often described as heavy casualties, it’s not hard to see why those going to the front lines would hesitate. Russia’s strategy may be to use artillery to blast positions into rubble, then advance across the rubble, but even in an age where there are many other options for gathering intelligence, Russian forces are using those advances in this way. seem to do with it which is a wonderful phenomenon. The life of Russian soldiers. Even in recent weeks, it is not difficult to find reports in which some of these groups ran into a Ukrainian hard point and were completely destroyed while advancing to attack a town or village.
Thus Russia inflicted an incredible loss of 45,000+ troops in what has essentially been an artillery war.
To fill those casualties, Russia has become aggressive in filling the gap by using men from Luhansk and Donetsk. There may not be mobilization in Russia, but there certainly is in the long Russian-controlled areas of Ukraine. There are reports of men being pressed off the streets, and of men hiding to avoid conscription, at all posts in the area. This is apparently the glorious freedom that the people of Donbas have achieved: being herded onto trucks and sent to other regions of Ukraine to die.
Every intelligence report for weeks, whether from Ukraine, the US or the UK, has noted the same thing when talking about Russia: “Morale is weak in many parts of its military and its military is significantly depleted.” How bad is Russian morale? It’s bad enough that this week Russian forces were allegedly engaged in … internecine activities.
The note comes after earlier reports that Russian forces were firing at each other back in June.
If Putin really intends to add over 100,000 more men to the Russian military (and these are men, because … Russian reasons), it seems unlikely that any amount of wheeling, promises or threats are going to make it happen. are It’s going to take some level of mobilization—a draft—to make it work. If that happens, it’s still unclear what happens next. Eventually, Russia started the war with 190,000 of its troops and 30,000 LNR/DNR troops around Ukraine.
Bringing Russian troops to fight in Ukraine is reminiscent of how Abraham Lincoln told a reluctant General George McClellan to go. “Sending troops to McClellan is like shoving fleas into a barnyard,” said Lincoln. “Half of them don’t get there.”
Russian forces had a reported success in the Kherson region. Along with bringing more forces to the front line, Russia has reportedly (re)captured the village of Balhodtne, southwest of the long-contested Snihurivka.
This is a very modest advance, with Russia advancing only 2 kilometers from the previous front line to capture a town with only seven roads. Just west of this location, Russia continues to lose troops in an attempt to move closer to a series of heavily fortified Ukrainian positions around the town of Pervomaiske (yes, another one). In fact, the Russian move into Blohodtne would not be noticeable, except that it is the only change on the map.
Otherwise, things seem more or less stable. Even the Ukrainian position on the east side of the Inhulets River south of the Davidiv Bridge, which at last reports was the subject of a massive Russian effort to hit it at all points simultaneously … is still there.
As Russia was trying to boost flagging positions along the front line. A fresh operation took place on the critical bridge on Friday as well. This time during the day and at a point when Russian forces were trying to patch up and use the bridge, more high precision rockets rained down. I’m not including the resulting video, because the video I found later included recognizable bits of bodies flying around.
Russian engineers are working on a pontoon bridge across the Dnipro, as well as using partial pontoons and barges to transport supplies and equipment across the river. So far, the pontoon bridge, now about a third complete, appears to have escaped attack. Don’t expect it to be true when it’s close to completion.
Southwest of Izyum, Russian forces attempted to advance southwest down the T2122 highway, bypassing Brazkivka, but were reportedly stopped without making any progress.
Russian troops also attempted to move south from Andreevka, apparently advancing across fields along the highway. It is not clear whether they met with any success, but no other villages or towns have changed hands.
Russia’s focus in this area seems a little strange. Moving those forces from Izyum to the larger targets of Slavyansk and Kramatorsk meant moving southeast. The areas under attack now appear to be where Russia engaged months ago when it planned a massive pincer move … only for both pincer blades to fail.
Honestly, I kept a map of it even though absolutely nothing changed. See the red arrow? Russia tried to advance there. All signs say they didn’t.
West of the city of Donetsk, Russia has made several additional attempts to push Ukrainian lines. not only
Near Bakhmut, which has been the anchor point for the Ukrainian line since the loss of Lysychensk, the Russians made repeated attacks. Bakhmutske, Soledar, of Codema. No, no, and neither.
This time I think I’m going to skip the map. Just imagine if Russia created many new examples of why no one wants to be in their army.
In retaliation for all Russian ammunition depots turning into ersatz fireworks displays during the daily celebration of HIMARS O’Clock, Russia said on Friday it had also blown up a warehouse full of ammunition. This will be the warehouse.