According to US and NATO officials, Russian forces have made some progress in Moscow’s new offensive in eastern Ukraine, as its military seeks to resolve a number of issues that have plagued it since the early weeks of the invasion.
Officials say the United States has seen “some evidence” of an improvement in Russia’s ability to integrate air and ground operations, as well as its ability to replenish forces on the ground.
A senior U.S. defense official said progress was “slow and uneven”, allowing Russian forces to advance only “several kilometers or more” each day.
But the United States estimates that Russia is trying to learn from the mistakes it made in the beginning, when tanks and armored vehicles ran out of food and fuel, making it easier for them to use Ukrainian hit and run tactics. Had become victims.
Russia has deployed command and control elements near its border with eastern Ukraine, according to a senior NATO official. Trying
Before the offensive began on February 24, Russia mustered 125 to 130 battalion tactical groups, called BTGs, around Ukraine, and especially near Kyiv, but when the fighting broke out, Russian military leaders Showed them less ability to fight as one.
According to a senior defense official, there are currently 92 BTGS in the country, 20 of which are in Russia just across the border.
“Attacks are somewhat better integrated but with smaller formats. With the help of company-sized unit helicopters,” said a European defense official. “The lowest level of cooperation. That will be the main thing in NATO.”
Still, Western officials familiar with the latest intelligence say that if Russia has learned important lessons from its military failures in the first phase of the conflict, it is not clear that Moscow needs to gain control of the Donbass region. Will be able to implement changes.
Its military has suffered heavy casualties, both in terms of manpower and equipment, and officials believe other equipment moving from different parts of Ukraine may not have been repaired. Many combat units have brought together soldiers who have never fought or trained together.
“I don’t know how many lessons they can put into practice. This is not a trivial matter,” said a senior NATO official. “You don’t just move tanks and personnel and say, ‘Now go back to the fight!'”
Alex Marcordit and Natasha Bertrand contributed to this post.