Russian troops often made themselves easy targets at the war’s start, a Ukrainian soldier said.
They would fail to take cover and linger in their positions, he told freelance reporter Stefan Weichert.
But Moscow’s forces now move more often and appear to have learned from their mistakes, he added.
The leader of a Ukrainian drone unit said Russian troops made themselves easy targets at the start of the war but have since learned from their mistakes.
The Russians often failed to take cover in the invasion’s early stages and wouldn’t budge from their positions, said the Ukrainian corporal, known only as Petro. He spoke to Stefan Weichert, a freelance journalist reporting last month near the frontline for the Daily Beast.
But Petro told Weichert he noticed Russian forces — tanks in particular — moving more often as the war continued.
“They adapt. They are starting to think about how to fight better. They learn from their problems and mistakes,” said the corporal, whose primary role is to spot Russian artillery or tanks.
The early months of the war revealed severe flaws in Moscow’s wartime strategy, Western observers have said. Between February and July 2022, Russia lacked competent junior leaders on the ground who could command their units effectively, the Royal United Services Institute, a UK defense think-tank, wrote in November. Their combat formations and targeting systems meant Russian troops were often vulnerable to friendly fire, the think tank added.
Between 60,000 to 80,000 Russian soldiers were killed or wounded in the war’s first months, the US estimated in July.
Russia also likely lost around half of its main battle tanks deployed in Ukraine, the Pentagon said in November.
As Moscow’s losses mounted, the Kremlin began sending poorly trained draftees to the frontlines as replacements, exacerbating the death toll. One US official in January noted that Russia appears to be sticking to this failed strategy.
Now, Ukrainian troops on the frontline say they’re running dangerously low on ammunition, Weichert reported. Petro’s unit spotted an anti-tank gun, but the responding Ukrainian artillery unit only fired one shot when six are usually needed to dispatch a target, Weichert wrote.
“Our biggest problem is that we are running out of artillery shells,” a sergeant named Oleg told Weichert.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg warned in February that Ukraine was expending its ammunition “many times higher” than the West’s rate of production.
“The war in Ukraine is consuming an enormous amount of ammunition and depleting allied stockpiles,” he said.
The European Union said in March that it would deliver one million rounds of ammo to Ukraine over the next year, while the Biden administration has promised 200,000 artillery, rocket, and tank rounds to Kyiv.
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