Numerous reports have emerged over the last few weeks suggesting Russia is running low on resources, with Moscow suffering huge losses of personnel and military equipment since the start of the so-called “special operation.” With crippling economic sanctions starting to bite, replacing old or destroyed material, as well as supplying inexperienced conscripts to the front line have been replaced by recalling retired military staff under private contracts with the shady Wagner mercenary group.
The latest incident has been reported by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) intelligence report.
It states: “Ukrainian forces have announced that the pilot of a Russian Su-25 FROGFOOT ground attack aircraft shot down on 17 June was captured shortly afterwards.
“The pilot has confessed to being a former Russian air force Major, who had taken employment as a Wagner military contractor and had flown several missions during the conflict.”
The MoD report continues by discussing the notion of retired military personnel being used to bolster numbers in the Russian forces.
It said: “The use of retired personnel, now working as Wagner contractors, to conduct close air support missions indicates that the Russian air force likely is struggling to support the invasion of Ukraine with sufficient aircrew.
“This is likely due to a combination of Russia’s insufficient numbers of suitably trained personnel and its combat losses.”
In late March, it was expected that the number of Wagner PMCs in Ukraine would be tripled from around 300 at the beginning of the invasion to at least 1,000 and that they were to be focused on the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine.
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Most embarrassing for Russia is the technology being used in the veteran aircraft being supplied to Wagner personnel.
The MoD report continued with probably the most shocking revelation: “Whilst conducting his missions, the Russian pilot reportedly used commercial GPS devices rather than Russian military navigation equipment.
“This likely indicates that Wagner aircraft are older models of the Su-25 and that the Russian air force is not providing Wagner with up-to-date avionics equipment.”
So far, Ukraine claims over 200 Russian fixed-wing aircraft have been downed since the start of the conflict.
Even without a NATO-imposed no-fly zone above Ukraine, air defences have proved formidable, with Russia abstaining from using modern fifth-generation aircraft over Ukraine.
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On a wider scale, reports from Ukrainian sources unveil a damming reality as to Russian losses since the start of the war.
Over 34,500 Russian personnel have been killed, with over 100,000 injured.
More than 1,500 Russian tanks have now been reduced to charred scrap metal, with hugely successful campaigns by Ukrainian defences pushing back Russian ground forces.
Critics of Russia’s military tactics suggest the ground losses have been in part down to a failed air support campaign.
In terms of maritime figures, Ukraine states that 14 Russian vessels have been sent to the bottom of the sea or destroyed, including the Black Sea flagship and pride of the fleet, The Moskva.