Russia is desperate for more soldiers and likely to redeploy troops too quickly after Mariupol siege, UK intel says

Russia is desperate for more soldiers and likely to redeploy troops too quickly after Mariupol siege, UK intel says
  • Russian commanders are coming under pressure to get soldiers back into the field, after their lengthy assault on Mariupol.

  • UK intelligence says soldiers will not be suitably "re-equipped and refurbished" in order to speed things up.

  • However, this could backfire and lead to further soldiers deserting, the MoD claimed.

Russian commanders are likely to rush exhausted soldiers back into the field after their lengthy assault on Mariupol, leaving them improperly equipped and at risk, UK intelligence said.

Earlier this week Ukraine ordered many soldiers holding out in a steel plant in the city to surrender.

UK intelligence estimated that around 1,7000 soldiers surrendered. Many were wounded and without adequate supplies of food or water, the officials said.

The steel plant was the last major point of resistance in Mariupol, which was surrounded by Russian early in its invasion of Ukraine and subject to relentless attacks.

The "staunch Ukrainian resistance" means Russian troops would have to be "re-equipped and refurbished" before they can move onto the next operation, the MoD update said.

However "this can be a lengthy process when done thoroughly" and comes at a time when commanders are under increasing pressure to make up for poor performance in the invasion.

"This means that Russia will probably redistribute their forces swiftly without adequate preparation, which risks further force attrition," the MoD said.

The update came after the Ukrainian Defence Ministry's main intelligence directorate released a recording apparently showing Russian troops openly mocking the "stupid" war.

"Everyone who is here … I'm telling you … everyone is planning to take off on the 26th," a soldier says, according to one translation from The Daily Beast.

"Isn't that stupid?" another man replies.

"Isn't it stupid that we're here?" the unnamed soldier retorts.

He later says that troops decided to abscond "on the basis of the fact that they put us on the front with absolutely nothing".

"They don't provide us with any [equipment]," he adds, complaining that the rifles given to snipers are "from 1945."

Russia's months-long campaign to capture Mariupol left thousands of dead and the city in ruins as President Vladimir Putin's forces bombed targets like hospitals, schools, and shelters.

Separatists are now planning to turn it into a resort town — wiping out symbols of Ukrainian resistance but also dismantling the steel plant production that has fueled the area's economy.

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