Putin ‘struggling’ to fix ‘thousands’ of damaged Russian tanks as convicts sent for combat

Putin wasn't 'told the truth' about Ukrainian resistance says expert

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This comes after Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky, said the country’s forces were advancing “step by step” towards Kherson, which was one of the first regions to fall under Russian control. Over the weekend, the UK Defence Ministry described “heavy fighting” between Kyiv’s and Moscow’s forces in the Kherson Oblast, which is located just west of the River Dnipro.

The ministry added that Russian supply lines were “increasingly at risk” in the area.

But in its daily intelligence update on Monday, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) described the “dilemma” for Russian commanders over whether to prioritise the Russian push for the Donbas in the east, or shore up its defence in the west of Ukraine.

The Kremlin’s forces are engaged in “inconclusive fighting” in the eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions as well as Kherson, it said.

But a key part of Russia’s problems is an inability to “extract and repair” combat vehicles damaged in offensives in Ukraine.

A Russian facility mere miles from the Ukrainian border is filled with “at least 300 damaged vehicles” which the Kremlin’s forces do not have the capacity to repair.

The MoD detailed: “On 18 July 2022, intelligence identified a Russian military vehicle refit and refurbishment facility near Barvinok, in Russia’s Belgorod Oblast, 10km from the Ukrainian border.

“At least 300 damaged vehicles were present, including main battle tanks, armoured personnel carriers, and general support trucks.

“In addition to its well documented personnel problems, Russia likely continues to struggle to extract and repair the thousands of combat vehicles which have been damaged in action in Ukraine.”

The MoD has pointed to Russia’s “significant” military casualties in Ukraine, and the Kremlin’s unorthodox methods of attempting to bolster its ranks.

Earlier this month, the MoD said Russia had resorted to “non-traditional recruitment” to beef up Russia’s ranks.

Moscow is believed to be offering convicts languishing in St Petersburg’s prisons the opportunity to join the notorious Wagner Group.

The mercenaries, who are thought to have had a presence in Ukraine for a decade, have been accused of human rights abuses.

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The MoD argued: “Russian Armed Forces’ personnel shortages may be forcing the Russian MOD to turn to non-traditional recruitment.

“This includes recruiting personnel from Russian prisons for the Wagner Private Military Company.

“If true, this move likely indicates difficulties in replacing the significant numbers of Russian casualties.”

The relatives of inmates told Russian independent news outlet iStories that prisoners were being offered £3,000 and their freedom for a six-month stint of “voluntary” service.

One family member claimed that their relative, incarcerated in St Petersburg, was “told not everyone will come back alive.”

They added: “If they die, the family will be paid 5 million rubles (£72,000).

“All of this is just words. It’s not written anywhere.”

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