Troops of the elite Russian military units stationed along NATOA European defense official said the casualty frontier suffered casualty rates of 30 to 40 percent in Moscow’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, with experienced troops now replaced by recently mobilized reserves.
NATO defense and intelligence officials are closely watching the performance and fortunes of key Russian units — which are expected to be at the forefront of any future Russian offensive against NATO in the Baltic region — and which typically confront coalition forces across NATO’s 755-mile-long, soon-to-be-extended border. one Finland joins Transatlantic bloc.
A European defense official spoke with him Newsweek On condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of NATO’s intelligence-gathering methods, it revealed that groups deployed to Ukraine from three Russian formations stationed near the borders with Estonia and Latvia have lost between a third and a half of their original personnel since the invasion. It started on February 24th.
The 76th Air Assault Division — part of Russia’s Airborne Forces, or VDV — is headquartered in the city of Pskov, just 40 miles from the Estonian border. Members of the 76th Division were responsible for “cleansing operations” in the Kyiv suburb of Pusha, during which many civilians were tortured and executed. Moscow still denies that the well-documented atrocities took place in the occupied territories.
“Sub-units of the 76th Air Assault Division were stationed in areas of heavy fighting: Kyiv direction, later Izyum and Kherson,” said the European Defense official. Newsweek. “It is very likely that the division suffered heavy losses.”
They said “We can assess 30 to 40 percent of the troops deployed in the Ukrainian war are wounded, missing or killed. We estimate that at their home base in Pskov and Chirya mainly conscripts and some contractors/officers are left.”
There was already a clamor about the fortunes of the poor in 76. In May, Major General Viko Vilo Palm, deputy commander of the Estonian Defense Forces, Tell Newsweek He said the formation “mainly carries out funeral operations for servicemen killed in Ukraine”.
Newly mobilized personnel form two battalions – generally between the two battalions 700 and 900 The European official added that the forces began training at Base No. 76 in the house at the beginning of October. By the end of November, these units were assessed as heading into Ukraine or towards the Ukrainian border.
Two other units are believed to have experienced similar infection rates. The 2nd Special Purpose Brigade stationed in Pskov – a formation of special forces from Spetsnaz and part of the GRU military intelligence agency – has been given honorary “guard” status by the Russian President Russian President Vladimir Putin In July for its business in Ukraine.
It was reported that the 25th Guards Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade, a Russian Army formation based in the city of Luga, was badly bombed in Ukrainian counterattack in the northeastern Kharkiv Oblast, which stunned Moscow and liberated more than 500 settlements and 4,600 square miles.
A European defense official said the 2nd and 25th Brigades “suffered heavy losses”. “We estimate potential losses to be between 30 and 40 percent.”
The demands of the Russian war in Ukraine forced Moscow to redeploy troops from border bases to the battlefields. In September, Foreign Policy cited three unnamed senior European defense officials who said about 80 percent of the 30,000 Russian forces previously stationed along the Baltic and Finnish borders had been diverted to Ukraine.
In October, Kai Sauer – Undersecretary of State for Foreign and Security Policy at the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs –Tell Newsweek It could take “one to three years, really depending on how the war progresses, and also how the new recruits are trained” for Russian frontier units to return to their pre-invasion strength.
Sauer said Helsinki is closely following the performance of units traditionally stationed along the Finnish border, some of which he said have caused “heavy casualties”.
To date, Ukraine claims to have caused more than 90,000 Russian military casualties since February 24. Kyiv closely guards its casualty numbers as a military secret.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen angered Ukraine this week when she said that “20,000 civilians and more than 100,000 Ukrainian officers” had been killed in the invasion so far. A government spokesperson later said that the 100,000 figure also included the wounded, and that the figure came from unspecified “external sources”.
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Mark Milley, said in November that about 100,000 soldiers had been killed on both the Russian and Ukrainian sides.
Newsweek I have reached out to the Russian Ministry of Defense for comment.
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