Photos that appeared online over the weekend depicting Russian Army armored vehicles on trains from an army training base in Mulino, 200 miles east of Moscow, are a potentially ominous sign.
The newest Russian Army, the 3rd Army, is heading towards eastern Ukraine set off. The 3rd Corps is the first major new formation to be formed under the Kremlin’s emergency initiative, which began this summer, to recruit new soldiers and form new units to complement its six-month expansion of the war in Ukraine.
The third AC will to a certain extent enhance the combat effectiveness of the Russian army, which has been hit hard in Ukraine. But it was unclear how effective the regiment was in fighting the battle-hardened Ukrainian battalion. While the 3rd Air Force is equipped with relatively modern equipment, its recruits—mostly middle-aged men—suggest that the Russian military faces broader manpower challenges.
Ageing Russia does not have many motivated, healthy young people. This means that the 3rd AC could be drawn into the fight at a disadvantage.
The Russian army that attacked northern, eastern and southern Ukraine on February 23 included a tactical battalion of about 125 battalions of 10 armies, commanding a total of about 125,000 front-line soldiers. That’s 80 percent of the Kremlin’s ground combat power.
According to a recent assessment by the US Department of Defense, the casualty of this army has reached as high as 80,000. That’s double the number of casualties the Ukrainian army could suffer.
Huge losses help explain why Russian operations have been scaled back. In February, Moscow’s goals were to destroy the Ukrainian armed forces, seize all major Ukrainian cities east of the Dnieper River, seize Kyiv, overthrow the Ukrainian government, and seize the entire Ukraine’s Black Sea coast, including the strategic port of Odessa.
Kyiv offensive collapses in late March . The southern offensive stalled near Odessa. The Ukrainian army, despite heavy losses, was still in combat mode. The Kyiv government is intact. As the military’s combat effectiveness has shrunk, the Kremlin has also scaled back its ambitions. In late July, the Russian army concentrated the surviving troops in the east, and finally captured the last free city on the east bank of the Severo Donetsk River in the Donbas region of Ukraine.
After speaking, the front froze. To the east, Russian troops advanced a mile here and a mile there, while Ukrainian troops fought on the Inkhurec River in the south, positioning them for what could eventually be the Russian-occupied Hetland on the Black Sea coast east of Odessa. Erson advance.
Unless and until regaining the combat power lost since February, it is unlikely that any army will make much progress. Back in May, the Kremlin began forming new battalions by raiding existing brigade training and garrison facilities. At the same time, the military has announced initiatives to form dozens of new regional volunteer battalions, even offering high salaries of up to $5,000 a month.
The conscription campaign immediately aligns with Russia’s dissatisfied demographics and conscription practices. About half of the 900,000 people in the Russian military are professionals on long-term contracts. The other half were applicants between the ages of 18 and 27.
Conscripts serve only one year and are not, by law, supposed to fight. Of the roughly 1 million young people in the draft age range, about one-third are exempt from drafting for medical or educational reasons. Twice a year, the Kremlin among 700,000 have eligible to participate in the Some 200,000 men serve in the military for a year.
There are not many extra people in the conscription pool. In most cases, these people are not members of volunteer camps. Instead, the Kremlin is targeting older men, 2 million of whom have military experience and are technically in the military reserve.
Russian is not for nothing In May, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law removing the 40-year-old age limit for recruits. Not without reason, there are plenty of gray hair, weathered faces and potbellied bellies in the ranks of the Third AC. The Washington, D.C. Institute for War Institute states: “Images of elements of the 3rd Corps show that these volunteers were unfit and older.”
Their physical condition may have been worse during the battle In the foreground, the 3rd AC and other new units were poorly trained and lacked experienced non-commissioned officers. As a consolation, the 3rd AC is at least entering Ukraine in fairly modern vehicles, including T-90 and T-80BV tanks. Other Russian reinforcements that arrived in Ukraine were carrying very old equipment, such as T-62 tanks taken out of long-term storage by the army.
It is unclear how big the 3rd Air Force Base was – a Russian regiment usually has as many as 20,000 men. It is also unclear how commanders will deploy troops. It can fight as a formation, most likely in the Donbass. Or the commander could break it down into brigades and battalions to fill the holes in the army that was already in Ukraine and buried thousands of the best troops.
Anyway, not everyone believed that a newly arrived legion would play a big role in a war that killed 200 or more Russians a day. The MoD said the 3 AC’s “effects are unlikely to be decisive for the campaign”.
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