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21 Dec, 2023 07:54

Ukraine losing 800 troops a day – ex-NATO officer

Kiev’s manpower is “significantly worn out” as Russia’s “strategy of attrition” is taking effect, a former German Air Force Colonel has said
Ukraine losing 800 troops a day – ex-NATO officer

Around 800 Ukrainian troops are being killed and wounded daily amid the conflict with Russia, retired German Air Force Colonel and prominent military analyst Ralph D. Thiele has claimed. 

In an opinion piece for Focus magazine on Wednesday, Thiele, who used to serve in the personal staff of NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe, claimed that Kiev needs to recruit more than 20,000 soldiers every month in order to replace its dead and injured. He did not reveal his sources or basis for his calculations, however.

Ukraine also requires additional personnel to be able to rotate its troops on the frontline, so that “exhausted soldiers” may recover and units may replenish their material supplies, he wrote.

According to Thiele, who now heads the Political-Military Society, EuroDefense (Germany) and StratByrd Consulting think tanks, “the highly motivated defense” and subsequent counteroffensive, which he described as “a thing of the past,” came at a “high price” for Ukraine.

Kiev’s manpower and hardware are “significantly worn out,” he said. “Western weapons systems are not miracle weapons and are wearing out,” the analyst added.

The worsening battlefield situation and decreasing Western support for Kiev are “eating away at the morale” of the Ukrainian troops, who “will have to save ammunition in a war of attrition and endure slaughter at the front without rest and without a greater sense of achievement,” Thiele stressed.

Russia has also lost “a large number of soldiers and huge amounts of material” during the conflict, but “it has much more of both than Ukraine,” he argued.

“Step by step, Russia’s superiority in the conflict with Ukraine is becoming more visible,” the analyst acknowledged. Moscow’s "strategy of attrition" is “taking effect” in terms of personnel, material, ammunition and morale, he said.

Thiele’s number of 800 Ukrainian soldiers being lost per day appears to be higher than the one announced by Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu at the expanded meeting of the Defense Ministry’s Board on Tuesday. According to Shoigu, some 400,000 Ukrainian troops have been killed or wounded since the start of the fighting in late February 2022. This means that, according to Russian figures, Kiev’s daily losses stand at around 600 servicemen.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, who chaired the meeting, stressed that “we can say with confidence that our troops have the initiative” on the frontline with Ukraine. “In essence, we are doing what we consider necessary, what we want. Wherever… commanders decide active defense is best, it takes place. And where it is needed, we improve our positions,” Putin explained.