Putin humiliated as failed tactics and bad investment lead to ‘huge losses of elite units’

Russian forces 'are afraid of us' says Ukrainian soldier

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The Ministry of Defence says that, due to a failure in tactics, Russia’s elite VDV forces have suffered significant losses. The VDV are Russia’s Airborne Forces or paratroopers – hailed as the best fighters in the Kremlin’s ranks. They have, however, been handed a string of crushing defeats by the Ukrainian forces.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD), in its latest Twitter update, claimed these losses were due to mismanagement and tactical failures.

It said: “Russia’s airborne forces – the VDV – have been heavily involved in several notable tactical failures since the start of Russia’s invasion.

“This includes the attempted advance on Kyiv via Hostomel Airfield in March, the stalled progress on the Izium axis since April, and the recent failed and costly crossings of the Siverskyi Donets River.”

The now famous doomed crossing of the Siverskyi Donets River was a particularly grisly blow to Russian forces. More than 70 vehicles and up to 1000 soldiers are believed to have been killed – many of these likely elite Russian VDV units.

The Ministry of Defence added: “Russian doctrine anticipates assigning the VDV to some of the most demanding operations. The 45,000-strong VDV is mostly comprised of professional contract soldiers. Its members enjoy elite status and attract additional pay.

“The VDV has been employed on missions better suited to heavier armoured infantry and has sustained heavy casualties during the campaign. Its mixed performance likely reflects a strategic mismanagement of this capability and Russia’s failure to secure air superiority.

“The misemployment of the VDV in Ukraine highlights how Putin’s significant investment in the armed forces over the last 15 years has resulted in an unbalanced overall force.”

The MoD said the “complacent” Russian commanders had failed to anticipate the fierce level of Ukrainian resistance which has led to “significant” – and potentially devastating – losses of elite Russian forces.

An effort by BBC Russia and Meduza, a Russian-language independent news organisation based in Latvia, estimates Russia VDV paratrooper losses to be 20 percent of the overall losses confirmed by the Russian Ministry of Defence.

The Russian MoD has confirmed 2,622 deaths of Russian soldiers since the war began. The true number is thought to be astronomically higher.

Reports in March described an entire VDV regiment being wiped out along with its Commanding Officer near Kyiv.

The Russian 331st Guards Airborne Regiment comprised nearly 2000 elite soldiers and more than 200 fighting vehicles. Colonel Sergey Sukharev, the regiment’s commander, was confirmed to have died in the battle.

The reports suggested only one wounded soldier survived the carnage.

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It was the first in a long line of crippling losses for Russia’s so-called “elite” fighting forces.

More recently, several attempts by Russian soldiers – many of them confirmed to be elite paratroopers – to cross the Siverskyi Donets River have ended in bloody defeats for Russia.

The river cuts through eastern Ukraine forming a natural barrier that large amounts of Russian troops must cross to make any significant gains in the east.

As Russian forces continue to push into Ukraine’s east, losses of elite units are likely to continue to mount.

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