Russian morale plunging in Ukraine stalemate: UK defense officer

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Russian morale plunging in Ukraine stalemate: UK defense officer

Britain’s top military officer said Sunday that the fighting spirit of Russian forces is dropping fast in the face of unexpectedly fierce Ukrainian resistance, while Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s deputy warned that ensuring Moscow’s defeat could take “months, if not years.” 

“Russia hasn’t operated at this scale since the Second World War,” Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, the Chief of the Defense Staff, told the BBC in an interview. “And, to do what’s called combined arms maneuver is incredibly complex and incredibly difficult, and we’re seeing Russia failing to do that in a competent fashion.”

Focusing on a 40-mile Russian convoy that has been stalled for several days northwest of Kyiv, Radakin said Moscow’s forces had “started to become dislocated,” in part due to a failure of basic maintenance.

“At the same time,” he added. “Russia has been attacked by Ukrainian armed forces, and their rear echelon, some of their logistics have been attacked, and now you’re seeing that whole convoy stuck. It continues to be attacked, and that is impacting on morale.

“There are stories of the troops in those vehicles – they don’t want to stay in those vehicles, so they’re camping out in the forest. They’re stuck there,” the admiral added.

Chief of the Defence Staff Admiral Sir Tony Radakin.
“Russia hasn’t operated at this scale since the Second World War,” Chief of the Defense Staff Admiral Sir Tony Radakin pointed out.
BBC

“And Russia has got itself into a mess, not just with that convoy, but in the whole of Ukraine, and we need to keep applying pressure on Russia,” he continued. 


Get the latest updates in the Russia-Ukraine conflict with The Post’s live coverage.


When pressed on his assessment of Russian troop morale, Radakin insisted that UK intelligence “absolutely” knows their confidence is flagging.

“We know that there are some – some of the battalion, tactical groups, those that have been leading the fight for Russia, have suffered terrible losses. We know that Russia acknowledges it lost nearly 500 people. If you put that into context, that’s nearly 500 soldiers in one week, and that is more than the UK lost in Afghanistan over 20 years.”

While dropping morale is a good sign for Ukrainian forces, Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab warned on the same day that stopping Putin will take some time. 

“I think the bottom line is none of the major cities have yet folded. But I think we ought to be under no doubt that our mission with our allies is to ensure Putin fails in Ukraine and it’s going to take some time,” he told Sky News. 

Southern end of the convoy on the T-1011 highway along the eastern edge of Antonov.
A 40-mile Russian convoy has been stalled for several days northwest of Kyiv.
Maxar Technologies/EPA
A military convoy along a highway.
Troops in the convoy have reportedly been camping in the forests rather than staying in the military vehicles.
Maxar Technologies/AFP via Getty Images
Service members of pro-Russian troops in uniforms without insignia ride in the back of a truck.
Russian forces have “started to become dislocated,” due to a failure of basic maintenance.
Alexander Ermochenko/REUTERS

“We’re talking about months, if not years, and therefore we have to show some strategic stamina because this is not going to be over in days.”

On Monday, the UK’s Ministry of Defense warned Russia was likely targeting communications infrastructure in Ukraine to “reduce Ukrainian citizens’ access to reliable news and information,” pointing to an attack on a TV tower in Kharkiv that suspended “broadcasting output” Sunday.

“Ukrainian internet access is also highly likely being disrupted as a result of collateral damage from Russian strikes on infrastructure. Over the past week, internet outages have been reported in Mariupol, Sumy, Kyiv and Kharkiv,” the MoD added. 

The Kremlin said Monday it would stop its attack only if the Kyiv government agrees to specific conditions — including ceasing all military action, adjusting their constitution to rule out joining NATO and acknowledging Crimea as Russian territory.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Reuters that Ukraine is aware of the conditions, saying “they were told that all this can be stopped in a moment.”

A service member of pro-Russian troops.
The Kremlin said it would stop its attack only if the Kyiv government agrees to specific conditions.
Alexander Ermochenko/REUTERS
Russian servicemen.
Russia has demanded that Ukraine recognize the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic as independent states.
Russian Defense Ministry Press Service/EPA

“They should make amendments to the constitution according to which Ukraine would reject any aims to enter any bloc. This is possible only by making changes to the constitution,” Peskov told the outlet.

Russia has also demanded that Ukraine recognize the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic as independent states.

“We really are finishing the demilitarization of Ukraine,” Peskov said. “We will finish it. But the main thing is that Ukraine ceases its military action. They should stop their military action and then no one will shoot.”

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