Russian forces made marginal gains on the outskirts of Severodonetsk, a crucial city in Ukraine’s Luhansk Oblast, but largely stagnated along other routes.
Military analysts say Moscow is facing mounting troop losses and broken down equipment that will complicate any efforts to renew offensive operations in the ongoing battle to secure the Donbass region.
Russia and Ukraine have continued to conduct heavy artillery barrages on positions around the Severodonetsk Pocket, and both sides are experiencing moral issues from the heavy fighting.
“Ukrainian forces have likely suffered desertions in recent weeks, however, Russian morale most likely remains particularly troubled,” British military intelligence officials tweeted. “Cases of entire Russian units refusing orders and armed clashes between officers and their troops continue to occur.” Ukraine reportedly intercepted phone calls on June 17 and 18 where Russian soldiers complained about frontline conditions, poor equipment and a general lack of personnel.
“One soldier said units had been largely depleted and some battalion tactical groups had only 10 to 15 soldiers left on duty,” according to the Institute for the Study of War think tank.
Ukrainian forces have likely suffered desertions from the ranks in recent weeks, but the situation is much worse for Russian troops, according to British military intelligence officials.
“Cases of entire Russian units refusing orders and armed clashes between officers and their troops continue to occur,” British officials said. “Low morale factors include perceived poor leadership, limited opportunities for non-combat unit rotations, very heavy casualties, combat stress, continued poor logistics, and pay issues.”
“The morale problems of the Russian forces are so significant that they limit Moscow’s ability to achieve its operational objectives,” British officials said. “Many Russian servicemen of all ranks also likely remain confused about the aims of the war.”
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