Some Russian forces surrender or sabotage vehicles

Some Russian forces in Ukraine, suffering from low morale and shortages of fuel and food, have surrendered en masse or sabotaged their vehicles to avoid combat, a senior Pentagon official said Tuesday.

Some entire Russian units laid down their arms without a fight after facing a surprisingly tough Ukrainian defense, the official said.

A large number of Russian troops are young conscripts Bad training and poor preparation for a complete assault.

Military tank on a street in Kherson, Ukraine on March 1, 2022, in this screenshot from a video obtained by Reuters on March 2, 2022. Video obtained by Reuters / via Reuters

In some cases, the official said, Russian forces deliberately punctured their vehicles’ fuel tanks, likely to avoid combat.

The Pentagon official declined to say how the military conducted those assessments — presumably a patchwork of intelligence including statements from captured Russian soldiers and communications intercepts — or how prevalent these setbacks were on the sprawling battlefield.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss operational developments.

Combined, US officials said, these factors may help explain why Russian forces, including an ominous 40-mile convoy of tanks and armored vehicles, have stalled near Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital, in recent days.

The Pentagon official said that in addition to dealing with shortages of fuel, food, and spare parts, the Russian commanders leading this armored column toward Kyiv might also be “regrouping and rethinking” their combat plans, making adjustments on the spot to gain momentum for what’s happening. US military and intelligence officials say that a inevitable motive In the next few days to encircle and finally capture the capital.

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“They have a lot of power at their disposal,” the Pentagon official said, adding that 80% of more than… 150,000 Russian soldiers Accumulated on the borders of Ukraine joined the fighting.

But the Pentagon official said US analysts were surprised by the “risk-off behavior” of the large force.

Russia launched an amphibious landing ship to capture Mariupol, a major port city on the Sea of ​​Azov, but it landed 65 kilometers from the city.

This gave the Russians more time and space to launch an invasion, but it also gave the city’s defenders time to prepare.

Overnight, Russian forces besieged Mariupol.

The bragging Russian Air Force has never achieved air superiority over Ukraine, as Russian combat aircraft have been thwarted by Ukrainian fighters and a surprisingly powerful and powerful array of air defenses, from anti-aircraft missiles. the stinger The Pentagon official said that firing from the shoulder on surface-to-air weapons is much greater.

A European official said on Tuesday that logistical problems for Russian forces leaving Belarus have proven difficult.

Before the invasion, American and British intelligence services raised suspicions about lfor supply chain Russian forces in Belarus.

According to independent analysts, during military exercises in that country, some soldiers received insufficient supplies of food and fuel.

But US officials told their allies that the Russians had fixed those problems by mid-February, which is one of the reasons for the intensification of US warnings of the invasion mid-last month, according to the European official, who spoke on condition of anonymity for discussion. Operations evolution.

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But the European official said the challenges faced by the Russian forces show that their supply chain problems have not been fully resolved.

He. Shes logistics The European official said they may help explain the presence of a long and slow convoy of military equipment approaching Kyiv, a tactical flaw that is a key target of the Ukrainian military.

The European official said Russian officials had hoped to achieve air superiority, at least around Kyiv.

But the fact that the Ukrainian air defense systems remained operational, put the Russian aircraft and convoy of equipment at risk.

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