ore than a quarter of Russian tactical groups have been rendered “combat ineffective” in Ukraine, British defence chiefs have said.
The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) released its latest update on the situation on the ground in Ukraine on Monday morning.
They said that Russia is believed to have committed more than 120 battalion tactical groups – around 65 per cent of its entire combat strength.
However, more than “a quarter of these units have now been rendered combat ineffective”, the MoD said.
It added: “Some of Russia’s most elite units, including the VDV Airborne Forces, have suffered the highest levels of attrition. It will probably take years for Russia to reconstitute these forces.”
It comes after a US defence official said on Friday that the Russian offensive is going much slower than planned in part because of the strength of the Ukrainian resistance.
“We also assess that because of this slow and uneven progress, again, without perfect knowledge of every aspect of the Russian plan, we do believe and assess that they are behind schedule in what they were trying to accomplish in the Donbas,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the US military’s assessment.
He said the US believes the Russians are “at least several days behind where they wanted to be” as they try to encircle Ukrainian troops in the east.
As the troops try to move north out of Mariupol so they can advance on Ukrainian forces from the south, their progress has been “slow and uneven, and certainly not decisive in any event,” the official said.
In other developments, Ukrainian Deputy Agriculture Minister Taras Vysotsky said in televised remarks that Russian forces have seized hundreds of thousands of tons of grain in territory under their control.
Ukraine is a major grain producer, and the invasion has pushed up world prices and raised concerns about shortages.
Meanwhile, a Russian rocket attack destroyed the airport runway in Odesa, Ukraine’s third-most populous city and a key Black Sea port, the Ukrainian army said.