Putin blow over ‘shocking scale’ of Russian losses: ‘Wanted 3-day war’

Russia: Vladimir Putin 'doesn't look good' says Sweeney

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More than 48,000 Russian military personnel have been killed in Ukraine, the Ukrainian armed forces said in its latest update on Thursday. Moscow has not updated its own death toll of 1,351 from March, while the US estimates that up to 80,000 Russians may have been killed. As the six-month war rages on, Putin’s troops have been pushed back by their Ukrainian counterparts in the formerly Russian-held southern region of Kherson this week.

The Russian President has been caught off guard, according to military insider Dr John Callahan, who said he “wanted a three-day war”.

Speaking to Express.co.uk, he said: “I think that the scale of Russia losses is shockingly more than they ever expected, obviously.

“They thought it was going to be a three-day war. There are a couple of pieces of it.

“Of course, the Russians are not saying a damn thing and why would they?

“They want to appear to be super powerful and keep moving forward.

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“And so, our main source for information about this stuff is the Ukrainians, and they have a big interest in appearing to cause a lot of damage and to be strong.”

Dr Callahan is a former diplomat and State Department official, who works as a military analyst at New England College in the US.

Although Ukraine is regaining some territory that was held by the Russians, exactly how much remains unclear.

The Ukrainian military has liberated several settlements south of the former Russian frontline north of the city of Kherson, according to CNN and Ukrainian media.

The UK’s Ministry of Defence also confirmed that Ukrainian troops had made progress in one of its latest updates on Wednesday.

It read: “Ukrainian armoured forces have continued to assault Russia’s Southern Grouping of Forces on several axes across the south of the country since Monday.

“Ukrainian formations have pushed the front line back some distance in places, exploiting relatively thinly-held Russian defences.”

As Russia’s losses of personnel and weapons units have continued, there have been reports and evidence from Western officials that Moscow is deploying decades-old weapons in Ukraine.

Dr Callahan, who has been researching the conflict, was among those to note the use of Soviet equipment.

Speaking about the effect of Russian losses, he said: “The estimates seem to be borne out by the fact that we are seeing more and more really ancient Russian and Soviet equipment come out into the field.

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“Nobody seems to have the type of gear they had in February. It is all personnel carriers and tanks that were even old at the end of the Cold War that are being dug out of warehouses.”

Soviet tanks and missiles, and “dump trucks” converted to carry Russian troops, have all been spotted being used in Ukraine.

Although Russia’s army is reported to have suffered heavy losses, Putin is unable to draw on large reserves of soldiers to replace them, according to Dr Callahan.

The expert explained that bringing in new Russian recruits on a large scale could further harm the Russian economy, which has already been battered by Western sanctions.

He said: “If you do a mass mobilisation, where do those guys come from?

“They come from factories, they come from agriculture, they come from whatever job they were doing, which is then not getting done.

“So, your economy goes even more in the toilet, and it becomes a self-licking ice cream cone of failure.”

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