Expert: Russian forces seem to have serious leadership problems

Vahur Karus.
Vahur Karus. Source: ERR

Russia has run down its forces in Ukraine and there are likely problems amongst the leadership, Brig. Gen. Vahur Karus, commander of the Defense Forces Academy, told ERR.

It is too early to say if the Ukrainian forces have withstood the most critical part of the war, Karus said on ETV's interview show "Esimene stuudio" on Monday. But at the same time, Russia has exhausted its army and morale is low.

"We have seen units pulled out of Kyiv, Chernihiv and Sumy, we have seen them then brought immediately into battle relatively quickly in Izium and also in other places in Donbas. /.../ Retreat is always a very difficult task for every army in terms of morale and discipline. /.../ And if they are immediately put back into battle without a break, there can be serious problems not only with moral and discipline but also with battle group capabilities," he said.

Russia has historically used a lot of artillery and it is still fighting the Ukrainian forces this way, Karus said. But the Ukrainians have better intelligence and well-placed strike capacity.

"If we look at public sources, then it is still partly said that the [Russian forces] breakthroughs at Izium failed because of this, that the Ukrainians have been able to use their artillery very well to influence the areas in which Russia has tried to concentrate attacks," he added.

It is not known exactly how Russian manages its activities in Ukraine and it is difficult to see this information from public sources, the general said.

It also seems there are issues with governance and leadership.

"If you have an army staff which suddenly has to start coordinating 30 different battle groups on its own, that means it's not a very good solution. Public sources do not tell us whether they have brigade or division level [command], which would normally make sense because an attacking unit's fire support, pioneer and rear support need to be positioned for maximum effect. If all of it comes from the general army level, it could be outdated or come too late once it hits the ground," Karus said.

"It seems as though they have pretty serious problems with leadership," he said.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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