- The situation in Ukraine remains tense, and both sides have accused each other of escalating the conflict.
- Russia has been accused of seeking to expand its influence and assert its dominance in the former Soviet states.
Even though Russia has lost a lot of people in its war with Ukraine, a top US military leader in Europe told lawmakers on Wednesday that they still have a lot of weapons left.
The head of US European Command, Gen. Christopher Cavoli, told the House Armed Services Committee, “This conflict has hurt the Russian ground force a little bit, but it is bigger now than it was at the start of the conflict.”
“The Air Force has lost only 80 planes, which isn’t much. He said, “They have another thousand fighters and fighter bombers.” “One ship has been lost by the Navy.”
A junior airman in the National Guard is said to have leaked classified military papers for months, giving a picture of where Russia’s ground forces were in the war. One document from February and March said that 527 of the 544 possible Russian battalions have been sent to fight against Ukraine. Intelligence said that 474 of these battalions are already in the country.
One document also said that between 35,000 and 43,000 Russian soldiers have been killed in action during the war.
In the last few weeks, these deaths have been especially bad in the battle around Bakhmut. On Tuesday, a spokesman for the eastern part of the Armed troops of Ukraine said that Russia is putting “all of its forces on Bakhmut” and isn’t fighting as hard anywhere else in “our operational area of responsibility.”
In March, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley told lawmakers that Russian troops are “getting slaughtered” in the fight for Bakhmut.
“In and around Bakhmut, the Russians haven’t made any progress in about 20 or 21 days. Milley said, “So it’s a slaughter for the Russians.” “They’re getting hit hard around Bakhmut, and the Ukrainians have been fighting very, very well.”
Still, it looks like Russia’s defense has lost only a small part of its total strength. When asked about the Russian submarine operations in the Atlantic, Cavoli said that the invasion of Ukraine hadn’t hurt “much of the Russian military.”
“The Russians are more active than we’ve seen them in years,” he said. “Their patrols into and throughout the Atlantic are at a high level, most of the time at a higher level than we’ve seen in years.” “And this is true, as you pointed out, even though they are working hard inside Ukraine.”
All of this is happening as the US and its allies get ready for a Ukrainian counteroffensive in the spring. The leaked papers gave a pessimistic picture of US confidence, saying that Russia could soon have air control and that Ukraine’s medium-range air defenses will be “completely reduced by May 23.”
The documents, which were from February and March of this year, listed a number of problems with the Ukrainian military and said that the two sides would eventually reach a standstill in the war.
But Cavoli seemed to say something different on Wednesday.
“The Ukrainians are in a good position, according to the modeling we’ve done with them very carefully,” he said. “They have some flaws I don’t like to talk about in public… But we are sure that they will be surprised and other things like that. We’ve worked with them on all of that, of course.”