NewsRussia shifts strategy in Ukraine, employing more mechanized units amid casualties

Russia shifts strategy in Ukraine, employing more mechanized units amid casualties

War in Ukraine
War in Ukraine
Images source: © Getty Images | Anadolu

11:52 AM EDT, April 6, 2024

Russia appears to have managed to control its personnel losses so far. During recent operations in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine, it has utilized more mechanized equipment, according to the latest report from the American Institute for the Study of War (ISW).

ISW analysts believe that although the recent intensification of Russian offensive actions in Ukraine is likely to result in increased personnel and equipment casualties, the Russian Ministry of Defense seems capable of minimizing these losses.

The think tank has observed that over the past week, Russian forces have launched several mechanized assaults in the Donetsk area, targeting locations including Chasiv Yar, Terny, Berdychi, Semenivka, and Tonenke. They point out that the earlier approach to Russian attacks mainly involved infantry without broadly engaging armored vehicles, which led to higher personnel casualties. It appears Russia has effectively employed ongoing cryptomobilization efforts to recover from the escalating personnel losses, the analysts note.

Managing losses with an increased use of mechanized equipment

ISW references reports from the Ukrainian military intelligence, GUR, indicating that Russia is drafting approximately 30,000 individuals monthly into its army. "The recent shift towards more tactical attacks involving a larger contingent of vehicles suggests that losses of armored vehicles and tanks no longer seem to limit or concern the Russian military," ISW states.

The Institute also echoes findings from the British International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), which in February reported that Russia possesses ample stocks of lower-quality armored vehicles and estimates a capability to replenish its losses for around three years.

ISW suggests that the Kremlin is unlikely to opt for an unpopular mobilization as long as it can mitigate losses in personnel or equipment through cryptomobilization and the current output of its defense industry.

"The uptick in mechanized assaults in eastern Ukraine reflects the Russian command’s confidence in compensating for these losses, all while gearing up for an expected offensive in summer 2024," the report mentions.

However, it cautions that it has not been able to visually confirm recent reports claiming Ukrainian drones have destroyed aircraft at four airbases in Russia (near Kursk, Morozovsk in the Rostov region, Yeysk in the Krasnodar Territory, and Engels in the Saratov region).

According to Ukrainian media, citing sources within the GUR and the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), Ukrainian drones have, among other achievements, destroyed six unspecified aircraft in Morozovsk and damaged three strategic Tu-95 bombers (in Engels) and two Su-25 aircraft (in Yeysk).

The ISW notes that Russia typically deploys Tu-95 bombers based in Engels to launch attacks on Ukraine using Kh-101 and Kh-555 missiles. Given that Russia had about 60 Tu-95s in 2023, the destruction of three could be "noteworthy," accounting for five percent of the fleet.

Source: PAP

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