Russia will experience some major problems as Putin grapples with dwindling troops

Russia will experience 'major problems' says military historian

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Military historian Chris Newton told GB News that Russia has “really churned up forces” in Ukraine after months of ferocious and fatal fighting. Having withdrawn from the capital of Kyiv and concentrated their forces on the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine, Russia has been forced to “pull together composite units” to sustain brutal attacks on cities such as Severodonetsk in the Luhansk region. Mr Newton said Russian President Vladimir Putin now faces a difficult decision over whether to switch to “stealth” tactics this summer, a prospect that could circumvent the issue of a depleting force, or continue with a “general mobilisation”. 

Mr Newton said: “[Russia] have really churned up forces in their various operations and they’re scrambling together forces, pulling together composite units. 

“And Putin has a real decision to make over in the summer in terms of mobilisation. 

“[He must ask himself] whether he can go for general mobilisation or can he do it by stealth. 

“So Russia will experience some major problems in terms of the generation of forces now.” 

Russia reportedly suffered further heavy losses this morning as Ukrainian missiles hit a Russian naval tugboat transporting soldiers, weapons, and ammunition to the Russian-occupied Zmiinyi (Snake) Island south of the Odessa region, the regional governor said.

Odessa governor Maksym Marchenko identified the vessel as the Vasiliy Bekh.

Ukraine’s Naval Command said the tugboat had a TOR anti-air missile system on board but this had failed to stop the strike.

The Naval Command said in a post on Facebook that the Vasiliy Bekh had served in the Russian Black Sea Fleet since 2017.

On the battlefield, Ukrainian officials said their troops were holding out against massive Russian bombardment in the eastern city of Severodonetsk, and described new progress in a counteroffensive in the south.

But they said battles on both main fronts depended on receiving more aid from the West, especially artillery to counter Russia’s big advantage in firepower.

And Severodonetsk mayor Oleksandr Stryuk said the situation was becoming “more and more difficult” due to constant Russian rearmament. 

He said: “Every day it becomes more and more difficult because the Russians are pulling more and more weapons into the city.”

An air strike on Thursday hit a building sheltering civilians in Lysychansk across the river, killing at least four and wounding seven, regional governor Serhiy Gaidai said.

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In the south, Ukraine says its forces have been making inroads into Kherson province, which Russia occupied early in its invasion. There has been little independent reporting to confirm battlefield positions in the area.

Mr Zelensky’s chief of staff, Andriy Yermak, wrote on Twitter that he had visited an area some 3 to 4 km (about 2 miles) from Russian positions, where dozens of “ghost villages” were depopulated by the combat.

“Our guys on the ground – the mood is fighting. Even with limited resources, we are pushing back the enemy. One thing is missing – long-range weapons. In any case, we will throw them out of the south,” he wrote.

The fighting comes as Britain will host Ukrainian business representatives and leaders today to promote collaboration between its companies in infrastructure, energy and transport, and Ukrainian public and private organisations to help repair damaged and destroyed infrastructure.

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