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kyiv: an elite Russian unit reconstituted six times despite heavy losses

Elite Russian units involved in the heaviest fighting in Ukraine have been replenished up to six times, according to a senior Kiev military intelligence official, as Moscow’s troops continue their efforts to occupy Ukrainian regions despite massive losses.

Vadym Skibitsky, deputy director of Ukraine’s defense intelligence agency (GUR), said Saturday at the Yalta summit on European strategy in Kiev that 18 months of intense fighting have seriously degraded Russia’s main units.

“The professional composition of the best-prepared Russian troops was destroyed in the middle of summer last year,” Skibitsky said. “I can give you an example: the 155th brigade of the Pacific Fleet. Currently, this brigade is fighting in its composition of six.

“So these are not marines. These are also people who are part of marine crews, other types of troops and military personnel. But this is not an amphibious assault,” Skibitsky added .

Russian naval infantry parade during the Victory Day parade on Red Square in Moscow, Russia, May 9, 2012. Russian marine units are believed to have suffered heavy losses during the large-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Russia’s naval infantry constitutes one of its most powerful assets on the battlefield. Like the Airborne Forces – or the VDV – the marines are better trained, equipped and motivated than regular Russian units.

The Pacific Fleet’s 155th Brigade was among those that pushed for the capture of Kiev in the early days of the war and has since been in action in hotspots including Pavlivka and Vuhledar. The 155th was also reportedly present in the Kiev suburbs of Irpin and Bucha, where Russian occupation units committed some of the most infamous atrocities of the war to date.

The unit’s difficulties are emblematic of Russia’s main forces, decimated by the hesitant invasion of Ukraine. European officials have already said News week that elite units – including those intended to lead hypothetical future invasions of NATO states – suffered up to 40 percent casualties.

“It is not about the airborne troops who entered Ukrainian territory from the first days of the aggression,” Skibitsky said on Saturday, referring more broadly to the degradation of the main Russian formations, including the VDV. “This is the second or third composition of these troops.”

Neither Russia nor Ukraine publishes casualty figures. US officials recently said The New York Times that Russian battlefield losses are now approaching 300,000, including around 120,000 killed. The Ukrainian Defense Ministry claims to have “eliminated” nearly 270,000 Russian soldiers since February 2022. News week was unable to verify these figures.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has sought to strengthen his professional units devastated by waves of mass mobilization. Moscow sought to enlist 300,000 people after the partial mobilization in September 2022. Rumors of a second, larger wave of mobilization abound, as do reports of a stealth mobilization going beyond the announced program. ‘last year.

Enhanced mobilization measures and more intense recruiting efforts were bolstered by the recruitment of imprisoned Russians to serve in the so-called Storm-Z units.

The Ukrainian army also suffered greatly, although Western estimates put kyiv’s losses lower than those of the invasion force. U.S. estimates put the total number of Ukrainian casualties at 200,000, including approximately 70,000 killed. Again, News week was unable to verify these figures.


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