Russia lacking munitions and units for successful offensives in Ukraine, says UK

Russian army soldiers practice on a military training ground in Russian-controlled Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine (AP)
Russian army soldiers practice on a military training ground in Russian-controlled Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine (AP)

Russia has been attempting to restart major offensive operations in Ukraine but lacks “munitions and manoeuvre units” to be successful, UK defence chiefs said today.

Vladimir Putin’s forces have “highly likely” been attempting to re-start a major offensive since early January, the Ministry of Defence in London said.

Its operational goal is “almost certainly” to recapture the remaining Ukrainian-held parts of Donetsk Oblast in the east, it said in its latest briefing.

But it said Russian forces are managing only to gain several hundred metres of territory each week.

“This is almost certainly because Russia now lacks the munitions and manoeuvre units required for successful offensives,” it said.

“Senior commanders likely make plans requiring undermanned,inexperienced units to achieve unrealistic objectives due to political and professional pressure”.

It added that: “Russian leaders will likely continue to demand sweeping advances. It remains unlikely Russia can build up forces needed to substantially affect the outcome of the war within the current weeks”.

Russian forces have stepped up their assaults in eastern Ukraine in the past month with intense fighting in Soledar and Bakhmut.

They attacked dozens of Ukrainian positions across the eastern front on Monday, the Ukrainian military said.

Russia launched five missile and 12 air attacks as well as 36 shelling attacks over a 24-hour period, hitting southern targets such as Kherson, the Ukrainian armed forces said last night.

Ukraine has said Russia is planning a major offensive to coincide with the one-year anniversary of the war.

The West is supplying more military equipment, including battle tanks, to help it counter the anticipated offensive.

It comes as United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned the world could be facing a wider war as the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine approaches.

“The prospects for peace keep diminishing. The chances of further escalation and bloodshed keep growing,” he said.

“I fear the world is not sleepwalking into a wider war. I fear it is doing so with its eyes wide open.”