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22 Jun, 2023 11:58

Putin outlines Ukrainian military constraints

Kiev cannot replenish manpower indefinitely despite Western aid, the Russian president has said
Putin outlines Ukrainian military constraints

Ukraine’s armed forces are significantly constrained by limits on manpower, Russian President Vladimir Putin has suggested, after receiving an estimate that Kiev has lost over 13,000 troops since launching its counteroffensive earlier this month.

“Additional military hardware can certainly be delivered, but the mobilization reserve is not unlimited. And it seems Ukraine’s Western allies are indeed prepared to wage the war to the last Ukrainian,” Putin said during a meeting of the Russian Security Council on Thursday.

Putin was referring to the point that the US and its allies are unconcerned about the level of Ukrainian casualties, as long as they can use Kiev as a proxy to inflict damage on Russia.

During the meeting, senior officials tabled Russia’s assessment of the interim results of the Ukrainian counteroffensive, which was launched earlier in June.

According to Nikolay Patrushev, the secretary of the council, Kiev has lost over 13,000 troops and a significant number of weapons in the campaign. The preliminary estimate is largely based on intercepted communications from Ukrainian military commanders, Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu clarified.

Meanwhile, the Russian military is steadily building up its reserves, Shoigu added, stating that the process was going well in terms of recruitment and the procurement of weapons systems.

The ministry has contracted 114,000 additional troops through regular channels and has a standing force of 52,000 volunteers who are highly motivated to join the fight against Ukraine, Shoigu reported. The department is keeping the latter group in reserve and is providing them with the necessary training, he added.

The reported Ukrainian losses between June 4 and June 21 include 246 tanks, 595 armored vehicles, 424 cars, 279 artillery guns and mortars, 42 multiple rocket launchers, two anti-aircraft systems, ten tactical fighter jets, four helicopters, and 264 unmanned aerial vehicles. Thirteen of Ukraine’s 81 Western-made tanks were also destroyed, according to Russian officials.

Shoigu claimed that Kiev’s foreign sponsors have virtually run out of Soviet-made weapons they can procure for the Ukrainian army. Whatever remains of those and Western-made equipment they can provide this year will not significantly affect the battlefield situation, he predicted.