Putin’s Pushing His Army Bosses Into ‘Meat Grinder’ of Death

Russia has now lost at least 100 senior officials since invading Ukraine earlier this year. It’s a devastating milestone for Moscow—and just the latest sign Vladimir Putin’s War Effort in Ukraine is wavering.

In the past two days, three senior Russian officials have died: Lt. Col. Nikolay Gorban, commander of the Foreign Security Service (FSB) Special Forces; Army Aviation Commander Colonel Vasily Kleshchenko; And Colonel Vitaly Sikul 100th Russian senior officer to die in battle – of Russia’s 90th Tank Division.

While accurate tallies of Russian wounded While it may be difficult to pin down, a British intelligence analysis released this week found that at least 10 Russian generals have died on the battlefield since February.

But it is not only the death of Russian troops. Russia is moving away from their leadership ranks, eliminating them altogether. General-Colonel Alexander Chaiko, the former commander of the Eastern Military District, was deposed by British intelligence in May. Russia has replaced General-Colonel Alexander Zhuravlev with Lieutenant-General Vladimir Kochetkov as the head of the Western Military District. General Alexander DvornikovHe, who was leading the operation in Ukraine, has also been fired.

According to Glenn Howard, president of the Jamestown Foundation, the series of killings and shootings may be a sign that Russia’s military, nearly six months into the war, is mismanaged from the inside out.

“I see a lot of this was their own carelessness and lazy mediocrity,” said Howard, who previously worked at the US Embassy in Moscow.

The series of dismissals likely represents Moscow trying to find a workable approach to the war in Ukraine—but the continued bleeding means President Putin may not have figured it out yet.

“Putin is definitely trying to find a warlord who will succeed,” Howard said. “And luckily for us, he hasn’t been found yet.”

Russia’s military has struggled since the beginning of the war to achieve its main objectives. Russian The army failed to capture Kyiv, the capital, in the early days of the war, a series of logistical failures left the capital in rather disarray. Putin had plans to establish a Moscow-backed regime In Ukraine and take over the whole country, none of them happened. And there are armies Abandonment and vandalism of equipmentAccording to a report by Ukrainian intelligence.

Putin’s trial-and-error approach has been prominent throughout the war, as Ukrainian forces have so resisted the offensive, putting so much pressure on Russian forces that they have had to adapt their plans to deal with the fight in Ukraine, according to the Pentagon.

“They’ve made some incremental gains in the east, although not by much in the last few weeks, but how well the Ukrainian military has done and all the help the Ukrainian military has provided has taken an extraordinary toll on the Russian military. Got it,” Colin Kahl, Biden’s undersecretary of defense for policy, said at a briefing Monday. “And I think, the situation in the east has essentially stabilized and the focus is really shifting south, and to some extent, that’s because the Ukrainians have started to put some pressure on the south and the Russians have been forced to redeploy their forces there. “

All that second-rate work is permeating even the leadership circles; According to British intelligence, the failure of Russia’s military in the war is likely to lead to a series of dismissals of the Russian leadership.

Turn on the meat grinder.

“The poor performance of Russia’s armed forces during the invasion of Ukraine has cost Russia’s military leadership, with at least six Russian commanders likely to be dismissed since the start of hostilities in February 2022,” the intelligence report noted.

All of these losses are making Russia’s combat power progressively less effective, which could mean that Russia faces a formidable fight ahead.

“The war is taking its toll on them,” Howard said. “We faced their ‘A’ team and now they have no reserves. The best of their best? We faced them and defeated them. Now we are facing the ‘B Team’. And so while they are fighting the ‘B Team’, they are now going to the ‘C Team’. The quality level is just going down. “

Russia’s reduced military presence will be welcome news to Ukrainians and Western nations, including the United States, which have been providing significant military aid to Ukraine. In a conflict war, both sides are focused on grinding the other until they throw in the towel, with both sides aiming to outlast the other.

A significant loss to Russia could increase pressure on Putin to either withdraw from Ukraine or lean toward greater integration. So far, Putin has only admitted domestically that Russia is conducting a “special military operation” in Ukraine, not an all-out war, and is not ready for large-scale mobilization.

And even though Russian troops tried to recover After many reorganizations and changes in approach due to their early failures in the war, the army and leadership still bear some of the costs.

Between 70,000 and 80,000 people have been killed in Russia since February, according to a Defense Department assessment shared Monday.

“That’s pretty remarkable considering the Russians didn’t achieve any of Vladimir Putin’s goals at the start of the war,” Kahl said of the declining numbers.

This is a significant jump from other assessments of the US government in recent weeks. Just last month, CIA Director Bill Burns About 60,000 Russians have been killed.

“The meat grinder is on,” Howard said. “A large number of people are still being killed.”

And although disbandments and deaths are decimating Putin’s forces, this is not necessarily the end of the war or Russian losses. As of Monday, it is not possible to say “with a high degree of certainty” at this stage how long Russia will be able to sustain the losses, according to a Defense Department assessment.

“I think a lot will depend on what political decisions Vladimir Putin ultimately makes about whether he can continue to recruit and send additional troops to the front, whether he’s willing to engage in national integration at some point. Some more effort, Kahl said.

And Putin has had to deal with some embarrassing news this week. Explosions rocked a Russian air base in Crimea, which was illegally annexed by Russia in 2014, on Tuesday. A Ukrainian military official claimed responsibility for the damage and suggested that a long-range Ukrainian weapon system was used to carry out the attack. The New York Times.

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