A top US general has issued a warning that despite significant losses in Ukraine, Russia’s ground forces are bigger than they were at the start of the 2022 invasion, a sobering assessment of the country’s military capabilities.
“The Russian ground force has been degenerated somewhat by this conflict, although it is bigger today than it was at the beginning of the conflict,” Gen. Christopher Cavoli, the commander of US European Command, told the House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday.
“The air force has lost very little. They’ve lost 80 planes — they have another 1,000 fighters and fighter-bombers. The Navy has lost one ship,” he added.
Earlier in the hearing, Cavoli said: “Much of the Russian military has not been affected negatively by this conflict.”
He added that its undersea forces were increasingly emboldened in the Atlantic.
Russia has also continued to combine this military power with cyberattacks and manipulation of the global energy supply, Cavoli said.
Estimates in a US military-intelligence leak earlier this month indicated that more than twice as many Russians had been killed in the conflict as Ukrainians — up to 43,000, compared with up to 17,500.
The date of that assessment is unclear, and Insider is unable to confirm the accuracy of the numbers, which are lower than previous assessments by the Center for Strategic and International Studies and UK military intelligence.
A February assessment by the International Institute for Strategic Studies said Russia had lost about 40% of its prewar stock of battle tanks, while a report in The Economist suggested that its demand for tanks was outstripping its ability to replenish them by a factor of 10.
Cavoli also told US lawmakers that “staying the course” in terms of support for Ukraine was “very important,” adding that the US had delivered enough weapons for an anticipated Ukrainian counteroffensive to be carried out.
In December, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu signaled that he wanted to grow the Russian armed forces to 1.5 million personnel in 2023, including 695,000 contract soldiers, the Russian news outlet RBC reported.
Since the start of this year, the Kremlin has moved to make conscription less easy to avoid, with many Russians awaiting an expected second mobilization.
Source : BusinessInsider