Russia using 85% of fighting force in Ukraine: senior US defense official


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A senior U.S. defense official told Fox News Friday that Russia is using 85% of its fighting force in Ukraine as the war continues for a fifth month.

“They can’t keep it up forever,” the official said. “They have expended a lot of smarter munitions. Their capabilities are getting dumber.” 

The U.S. defense official assessed that Russia has not only deployed its missile forces, Air Force and its special operation forces known as “Spetsnaz,” but it has removed troops from other areas near its borders and stationed across the globe. 

A soldier of Russian Rosguardia (National Guard) with an attached letter Z, which has become a symbol of the Russian military, stands guard.
(AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)

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The official added the Pentagon has assessed that Ukraine has taken out more than a hundred “high-value” targets in attacking Russian command posts, ammunition depots, air-defense sites, radar and communications nodes, and long-range artillery positions. 

Additionally, more than just military targets, Moscow is grappling with a substantial number of causalities daily.

The senior defense official said that “thousands” of lieutenants and captains, “hundreds” of colonels, and “many” generals have been killed in the fighting since the war began. 

“The chain of command is still struggling,” the officials added. “They are still not effective at combined arms.”

A Russian soldier stands guard at the Luhansk Power Plant in the town of Shchastya April 13, 2022. 

A Russian soldier stands guard at the Luhansk Power Plant in the town of Shchastya April 13, 2022. 
(ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP via Getty Images)

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CIA Director William Burns estimated this week that some 15,000 Russian soldiers have been killed in the last five months and that as many as 45,000 have been wounded. 

“Quite significant set of losses,” Burns said during the Aspen Security Forum. “The Ukrainians have suffered as well, probably a little less than that. But, you know, significant casualties.”

Russian forces are reportedly relying on “rolling barrages” – which is an artillery-based strategy that bombards large swaths of area – but a method that has not proven particularly effective, the senior defense official told Fox News Friday.

Russia, which has heavily relied on missile strikes is believed to be launching tens of thousands artillery rounds per day; however, Russian forces have yet to be able to take out single High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) – which allows Ukraine to deploy multiple rocket launches effectively.

The official said that at some point they will “get lucky” and hit at least one U.S.-supplied system. 

Russian army soldiers stand next to their trucks during a rally against Russian occupation in Svobody (Freedom) Square in Kherson, Ukraine, Monday, March 7, 2022.

Russian army soldiers stand next to their trucks during a rally against Russian occupation in Svobody (Freedom) Square in Kherson, Ukraine, Monday, March 7, 2022.
(AP Photo/Olexandr Chornyi)

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Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced this week news plans to send four more HIMARS to aid Ukrainian forces. 

Russian troops have largely occupied the eastern regions of Ukraine, but the fight for Donetsk is expected to “last through the summer” with Russia achieving slow gains at high costs. 



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