Kiev’s forces have lost most of their experienced fighters and are suffering from ammunition shortages, the US paper says
Ukrainian servicemen attend on their position on the frontline with Russian troops near Ugledar in the People’s Republic of Donetsk. © AFP / Anatolii Stepanov
Kiev’s forces have been so “degraded” by a year of fighting against Russia that some Ukrainian officials doubt their ability to execute a planned spring offensive, the Washington Post has reported.
The conflict has taken many of the most seasoned Ukrainian troops, with the arrival of inexperienced draftees changing the profile of the country’s military, the US paper pointed out on Monday.
US and European officials have estimated that up 120,000 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed or wounded since the launch of Russia’s military operation last February, it added. Kiev keeps information abouts losses secret, even from its Western backers.
“Unfortunately, they are all already dead or wounded,” a battalion commander in Ukraine’s 46th Air Assault Brigade, identified only by his call sign, Kupol, told the paper about his experienced troops. And the poorly trained rookies that he’s been getting recently “just drop everything and run” as soon as the battle begins, the commander added.
Another problem faced by Ukrainian troops is a shortage of ammunition, including artillery shells and mortar bombs, the Washington Post said, citing those fighting on the ground.