300,000 new troops couldn't get Russia's big offensive to work, and sending more to the front probably won't help, war experts say
Russia mobilized hundreds of thousands of troops to fight in Ukraine and fuel a spring offensive.
But these new soldiers have been unable to turn Russia's advances into a major success, war experts say.
Ukraine now appears positioned for its own push, according to the Institute for the Study of War.
Hundreds of thousands of Russian troops called up to fight in Ukraine have been unable to turn Moscow's new offensive into a battlefield success, war experts said in a new analysis. And throwing more soldiers into the fight most likely won't help.
Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a partial military mobilization in September 2022 to fight off a personnel shortage, and 300,000 reservists drafted. These soldiers — many of whom were sent into battle poorly equipped and with limited training — have since been committed to Russia's ongoing spring offensive, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), a Washington-based think tank, wrote in a Sunday assessment.
But Moscow's offensive is "likely approaching culmination" because advances along several fronts in eastern Ukraine's Donbas region have so far failed to yield more than "incremental tactical gains," the assessment said. ISW noted hostilities around the war-torn city of Bakhmut, where intense fighting has raged for months, and cited Ukrainian military officials in its analysis.
"If 300,000 Russian soldiers have been unable to give Russia a decisive offensive edge in Ukraine it is highly unlikely that the commitment of additional forces in future mobilization waves will produce a dramatically different outcome this year," ISW wrote in its assessment.
"Ukraine is therefore well positioned to regain the initiative and launch counteroffensives in critical sectors of the current frontline," it added.
Experts, NATO officials, and Western intelligence agencies concluded in February that Russia had started its much-anticipated offensive in eastern Ukraine. On February 20, just days before the one-year anniversary of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Britain's defense ministry said Russia was pursuing advances along several fronts around Bakhmut, Kremina, and Vuhledar.
This push by Russia marked a pivotal moment for Ukraine's military, which was tasked with blunting Moscow's assault and stopping its numerically larger force from advancing long enough to allow for the delivery of advanced Western armor, such as tanks, artillery, and infantry fighting vehicles, and other weaponry.
The massive influx of Russian troops into Ukraine was aimed at overwhelming the Ukrainians with numbers, even if it meant accepting a high casualty rate, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said last month.
"What Russia lacks in quality, they try to compensate in quantity, meaning that the leadership, the logistics, the equipment, the training, don't have the same level as the Ukrainian forces, but they have more forces," he said at the time.
Meanwhile, Russian forces sent to fight in Ukraine have taken a beating. Western intelligence and US officials estimate Russia has likely suffered up t0 200,000 casualties in Ukraine. Over 60,000 soldiers alone may have been killed, according to a brief from the Center for Strategic & International Studies.
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