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ISW: Russian front-line soldiers face low morale following Ukrainian strikes

by Haley Zehrung August 21, 2023 6:21 AM 1 min read
"Russia here forever" says poster on the entry road to newly liberated Kherson, Ukraine, on Nov. 12, 2022. Ukrainian forces took back Kherson and regional settlements on the west bank of the Dnipro River after eights months of Russian occupation. (Wojciech Grzedzinski for The Washington Post via Getty Images)
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Ukrainian strikes on the rear areas of Russian territory worsen the morale of Russian troops, which ultimately threatens the stability of Russian defense forces in many critical areas of the front, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said in its Aug. 20 assessment.

Repeated Ukrainian attacks on rear areas in southern Ukraine against Russian front-line troops degrade morale  which has the potential to cause panic that can"quickly intensify and spread among Russian frontline units."

A previous ISW report highlighted the fragility of Russian front-line defenses, noting that Russia's inability to rotate frontline units is indicative of depleted reserves. Thus, if frontline units are potentially fractured by panic resulting from low morale, it could have a significant impact on Russian troops' ability to remain stable.

The ISW also said that Ukrainian strikes against Russian deep rear areas are generating discontent in the Russian information space and sparking criticism of the Russian military command.

"Some Russian milbloggers expressed anger at recent Ukrainian strikes on the Kerch Strait Bridge and called for Russian forces to target the families, homes, and other properties of Ukrainian decision makers to deter further Ukrainian strikes against Russian deep rear areas," the ISW wrote.

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