The Russian army’s lack of breaks during the ongoing war in Ukraine is probably “one of the most damaging” of the many personnel problems it faces in the conflict, the British defense secretary claimed this week.
In its daily intelligence update on Monday, the ministry highlighted a report that surfaced in late June claiming that Russian brides were begging for the return of “exhausted” soldiers from Ukraine.
“At the end of June, a Russian-language media agency based in Russia’s far eastern Lake Baikal region uploaded a video in which the wives of soldiers of the 36th Combined Arms Army of the Eastern Military District (EMD) directly appealed to a local politician for their husbands to return home after serving in Ukraine,” the ministry said.
“A woman claimed that EMD 5th Guards Separate Tank Brigade personnel were ‘mentally and physically exhausted,’ as they had been on active combat duty since the launch of the ‘Special Military Operation,'” he added. “The lack of scheduled breaks in intense combat conditions is quite possibly one of the most damaging personnel issues the Russian Defense Ministry is working to address among the deployed force.”
Since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24 in what Russian President Vladimir Putin called “a special military operation”, Moscow has failed to achieve its original goal of taking Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital. Despite a large advantage in troop numbers, the Russian forces encountered fierce resistance from the Ukrainian army and had to concentrate on the eastern region of Donbass, which contains the provinces of Lugansk and Donetsk. Putin claimed that these regions of eastern Ukraine are autonomous and independent states.
“As of Sunday July 10, Russian artillery shelling continued in the northern sector of Donbass, but probably without any major territorial advance,” the British Ministry of Defense said.
“Ukrainian forces continued to exert localized pressure on the Russian defensive line in northeastern Kherson Oblast, probably without achieving any territorial gain.”
Newsweek contacted the Russian Defense Ministry for comment.
Meanwhile, The Times of London reported on Sunday that Ukraine intended to build a “million-strong army” to fight Russia, citing Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov.
The minister said Western arms deliveries to his country must be accelerated to confront Putin’s army.
“We need more, quickly, to save the lives of our soldiers. Every day we wait for howitzers, we can lose a hundred soldiers,” Reznikov said.
“We have around 700,000 in the armed forces and when you add the national guard, the police, the border guards, we are around a million,” he added.