Russian Dilemma: Significant Losses Force Putin to Change Strategy

The approaching winter, high losses in the Ukraine war, and possibly declining morale in Putin’s army pose significant challenges nearly 20 months after the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The conflict in Ukraine has now turned into a battle of attrition, and movements at the front have nearly come to a halt. Amid these fights, however, a shift in Russian strategy is becoming apparent. Evidently, the Kremlin is no longer primarily relying on heavily armored vehicles but is increasingly deploying ground troops, as reported by the German news website

Along the front lines, there are frequent, costly battles. President Vladimir Putin’s troops, under the overall command of General Valeriy Zaluzhny, apparently face difficulties due to frequent Ukrainian attacks, while assaults on fortified Ukrainian positions are unsuccessful. Although Putin’s army continues to conduct air strikes in the Ukraine war, it is clear that the ground units are suffering significant supply problems due to losses. A Russian military blogger, quoted by the ISW, speaks of a “real renaissance of infantry combat,” as fewer tanks and heavily armored vehicles are being used near the front. Another observer adds that this may indicate losses and a lack of coordination in the Russian army. The “military balance” in the Ukraine war might be contributing to Putin’s current dilemma. It is speculated that Russia’s new strategy aims to address this issue. The Russian leadership under President Putin, whose health status has been repeatedly discussed, has so far apparently accepted high losses in the army. It is suspected that the war’s objectives are to be achieved at any cost.

Image:, Vladimir Putin (2022-09-05), CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons (Image size changed)

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