Ukraine: Russian vehicle flips over fleeing incoming fire
Ukraine killed almost 13,000 Russian soldiers last month, the country’s defence ministry has claimed. Meanwhile the UK Ministry of Defence has suggested Russian President Vladimir Putin is becoming increasingly reliant on ill-trained, ill-equipped, raw recruits eight months into the war.
The eye-watering total amount to 12,730, averaging more than 400 personnel a day. It brings the total death toll among Russian troops to at least 71,200 since February 24, the day Putin ordered his invasion, according to Defense of Ukraine, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence’s official Twitter page, which shares daily updates.
A further 950 soldiers were killed on Sunday, according to the unverified figures, with Volodymyr Zelensky’s forces making dramatic gains across Russian-occupied areas as they close in on the key southern city of Kherson.
Defence HQ, the MoD’s Twitter feed, today said: “Russia has deployed several thousand newly mobilised reservists to the front line in Ukraine since mid-October. In many cases they are poorly equipped.
Vladimir Putin has now lost more than 71,000 troops, Ukraine claims
Russian soldiers moments before the armoured car flips
“In September, Russian officers were concerned that some recently mobilised reservists were arriving in Ukraine without weapons.”
Open source images suggested those rifles which have been issued to mobilised reservists were typically AKMs, a weapon first introduced in 1959.
Most were likely to be in “barely useable condition” as a result of poor storage, the MoD pointed out.
It added: “AKM fires 7.62mm ammunition while Russia’s regular combat units are mostly armed with 5.45mm AK-74M or AK-12 rifles.
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Ministry of Defence tweet
“The integration of reservists with contract soldiers and combat veterans in Ukraine will mean Russian logisticians will have to push two types of small arms ammunition to front line positions, rather than one.
“This will likely further complicate Russia’s already strained logistics systems.”
As winter approaches, the Kremlin’s hopes of a swift victory in Ukraine are a dim and distant memory, as illustrated by multiple clips doing the rounds on social media.
In one widely-shared video which appears to illustrate the panic gripping Putin’s troops, soldiers are show scrambling onto an armoured car in the midst of a Ukrainian missile strike, likely to be in Kherson.
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Vladimir Putin ordered his invasion on February 24
Sergei Shoigu, Russia’s defence minister
Initially they can be seen smiling as they speed away – but the vehicle rapidly veers off into ditch, with the soldiers screaming with fear.
The armoured car then flips, hurling the troops onto the road before the screen goes blank.
On Friday Russia said it had finished calling up reservists to fight in Ukraine, having drafted hundreds of thousands in a month and sending more than a quarter of them already to the battlefield after a divisive mobilisation campaign that was its first since World War 2.
Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu told Putin at a televised meeting in the Kremlin: “The task set by you of mobilising 300,000 people has been completed. No further measures are planned.”
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Shoigu said 82,000 had already been sent to the combat zone and the rest were training.
Putin thanked reservists “for their dedication to duty, for their patriotism, for their firm determination to defend our country, to defend Russia, which means their home, their family, our citizens, our people.”
Both men acknowledged “problems” in the early days of the call-up but Shoigu insisted initial issues in supplying newly mobilised troops had since been resolved.
Putin said mistakes had probably been inevitable as Russia had not carried out a mobilisation for such a long time, but that lessons had been learned.
Volodymyr Zelensky believes Russia will have to conscript more men
The mobilisation Putin ordered last month after his forces suffered major battlefield setbacks was the first time most Russians faced a direct personal impact from the “special military operation” he launched in February.
More than 2,000 people were arrested in anti-mobilisation protests, notably in parts of Russia populated by ethnic minorities who complained they were being disproportionately targeted to be sent to the front.
In his Friday night address, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said he doubted Moscow was finished calling up soldiers.
He said Russian forces “are so poorly prepared and equipped, so brutally used by their command, that it allows us to presume that very soon Russia may need a new wave of people to send to the war.”