Rainer Saks: Current Russian ground forces losses in Ukraine unsustainable

Rainer Saks
Rainer Saks Source: Kairit Leibold / ERR

Russia is experiencing losses at an unsustainable rate in the war it is prosecuting against Ukraine, security expert Rainer Saks said. When taken as a whole, virtually the entire effective land forces of that country are now tied down in the conflict, in one way or another – with only relative air superiority at the moment standing in the way of greater success for Ukrainian counter-offensives.

Speaking to Vikerraadio's "Uudis+" on Tuesday, Saks, a former foreign ministry secretary general, said: "In addition to their fallen, Russia loses about two and a half times as many men through their being wounded."

"So the total daily loss rate of those who fall out of line is somewhere around 2,000 men or a little more than that. A rate like that cannot be sustained for very long," he went on, adding that 500-600 Russian soldiers are dying in the invasion and occupation of Ukraine, every single day.

As for replacements on the Russian side, Saks said: "We don't know how many more people Russia can recruit, because no major mobilization has been carried out and reinforcements are being drawn from the ranks of those who have completed military service, and from the reserve."

"There are no very exact numbers to reference here, but a simple calculation would show that 50,000-60,000 would need to be recruited to compensate for the losses per month, but Russia is certainly not in any position to achieve that rate of replacement, at the moment," the security expert emphasized.

In addition to liberating the territory, Ukraine's goal is to inflict the greatest possible losses on the Russian side while at the same time keeping its own losses as low as possible, Saks added. He also noted that the Ukrainian's training has been far-reaching and of a much better quality than on the Russian side – as evidenced by the higher proportionate losses encountered by the latter.

Russia currently has more than 300,000 soldiers tied down in the invasion of Ukraine Saks noted; if the internal forces and the current National Guard and other support units are factored in, perhaps even more.

"And that's essentially the entire Russian army as things stand at present," he added.

Russia's announcement that it has amassed more than 100,000 soldiers, over 900 tanks, 500 artillery pieces and 350 rocket launchers, all on the eastern front and near Lyman and Kupiansk, is nothing new, Saks added – these assets have been located in the northern section of that eastern front since last winter, he said.

The intention is likely to launch a concentrated offensive at that point in an effort to stem further Ukrainian reinforcements to Bakhmut, to the South, in whose environs Ukraine has seen successes in recent months.

At the same time, such maneuvering around the checkerboard of battle is becoming increasingly difficult for the Russians, at least in terms of creating any significant advantage in response to Ukraine's offensive efforts

"They are still moving troops around, but right now everyone is of the opinion that Russia no longer has substantial, additional reserves at its disposal. Everything they have has been thrown into the war against Ukraine," he added.

As for the slow progress on the counter-offensive, Saks reiterated that a lack of air superiority was key here.

The recent Kerch strait bridge strike, which did not knock out the connection Russia built in order to link occupied Crimea with Russian territory following the 2014 annexation, was not a false flag Russian attack, Saks said, using reason as the basis. A Russian strike on its own bridge would in this case not make any logical sense, he added.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Mait Ots

Source: 'Uudis+'

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