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UK Defense Ministry: Russian units 'struggling with battle fatigue' and ammunition shortages

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk August 1, 2023 1:07 PM 2 min read
Ukrainian “Grad” multiple rocket launcher fires standing in a field near Orikhiv on June 27, 2023 in Zaporizhzhia Oblast, Ukraine. (Photo by Serhii Mykhalchuk/Global Images Ukraine via Getty Images)
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Intense fighting in two sectors of Ukraine's southern front line is wearing down Russian defending forces, according to the U.K. defense ministry's daily intelligence report on August 1.

The battle south of Orikhiv in Zaporizhzhia Oblast has been focused against Russia's 58th Combined Arms Army, the regiments of which are "highly likely struggling with battle fatigue" due to the fact they have fighting Ukrainian assaults for over eight weeks.

Orikhiv is a front-line town and is regularly hit by Russian missiles. On July 29, the regional police department reported an apartment block was damaged by a Russian attack that used KAB guided bombs.

South of Velyka Novosilka in Donetsk Oblast, elements of Russia's 5th Combined Army are "under particular pressure" and in need of rotation, according to the report.

U.K. intelligence believes that the Russian defense at Velyka Novosilka is made up of units from both the Eastern and Southern military districts, which are likely "creating problems of coordination."

The Ministry added that artillery ammunition shortages and a lack of reserves are "common problems for Russian commanders" in the south.  

On July 30, the Ukrainian military reported that Russian forces are facing major logistical issues.

Southern Command spokesperson Natalia Humeniuk said Russia is facing difficulties supplying its forces after a July 17 explosion on the Crimean Bridge and a strike on the Chonhar Bridge on July 29.

Following the strike on the Crimean Bridge, Russia has also had to rely on a long detour through Russian-occupied areas of mainland Ukraine to supply its troops.

Meanwhile, the Chonhar Bridge route is the most direct connection from Russia’s Crimean logistics hub at Dzhankoi to Zaporizhzhia Oblast, where the Ukrainian counteroffensive is ongoing.

For Russia, Crimea is a"major logistical hub for the movement of forces and equipment deep into the territory of Ukraine," explained Ukraine's Main Directorate of Intelligence (HUR) spokesperson Andrii Yusov, on the day of the explosions on the Crimean Bridge.

As well as targeting key supply routes, Ukraine is targeting Russian ammunition stockpiles.  "We are working to ensure that logistics do not allow them to restock," Humeniuk added, saying Ukraine has now destroyed almost all Russian field ammunition depots and that Russian forces are dealing with "shell hunger."

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