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ISW: Russian operations limited by lack of infantry

by Abbey Fenbert August 29, 2023 6:38 AM 2 min read
A Ukrainian soldier on the front lines of the Ukrainian counteroffensive in the Bakhmut region on Aug. 21, 2023. (Photo by Diego Herrera Carcedo/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
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Russia now lacks the "elite infantry" units it once relied on to conduct large-scale offensives in Ukraine, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) wrote in its Aug. 28 report.

According to the ISW, the Russian military has been rapidly redeploying elite airborne units in front-line regions where Ukrainian counteroffensive troops are concentrated. On Aug. 27, an elite Russian air unit was transferred to Robotyne, likely from Luhansk Oblast.

Ukrainian forces liberated Robotyne on Aug. 28.

The ISW said that the frequent lateral redeployment of these units indicates that their capacity is likely diminishing.

"The degradation of these forces will likely weaken Russia’s ability to sustain complex defensive operations and almost certainly disrupt any Russian intent to resume offensive operations at scale," the ISW said.

Such operations have previously depended largely on "elite infantry Russia now lacks," the ISW said.

The Aug. 28 report also discussed Russia's missile supply. According to Ukrainian officials, Russia has replenished its stocks to some extent, but lacks the capacity to carry out a campaign of equal magnitude to its winter 2022-2023 offensive.

"Russian forces conducted strikes with up to 100 missiles in a single strike series during the air campaign in the fall and winter of 2022, and the marginal replenishment of their missile stocks will likely prevent them from conducting an air campaign at anywhere near that scale," the ISW wrote.

However, the analysts pointed out that future Russian campaigns may rely less on missiles and more on high-precision drone strikes.

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