The British Ministry of Defense claims that Russian troops are encountering "increasingly severe" challenges with manpower along the front lines, as the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war approaches seven months.
Here's a capsule review of the Defense Ministry's Friday intelligence report:
- Wagner Group, a Kremlin-linked Russian private military company, has been conducting a campaign to recruit Russian convicts for service in Ukraine. Prisoners have been offered commutation of their sentences, "as well as cash incentives."
- There's a BBC-verified video of Wagner owner Yevgeny Prigozhin making a recruiting pitch to prisoners. Prigozhin emphasized he's seeking "fighters for assault units."
- Russian military academies are shortening the graduation timelines of cadets so they'll be ready for battle in Ukraine at an earlier juncture.
- Russia's manpower challenge has become "increasingly severe." The acceleration of the cadet officers' training, and Wagner's demand for assault troops, suggest "two of the most critical shortages within the military manning crisis are probably combat infantry and junior commanders."
Per the BBC, via Newsweek, the Wagner footage included video of Prigozhin saying, "nobody goes back behind bars" if they serve in the Wagner Group, despite there being no Russian law that allows commutation of prison sentences in exchange for mercenary service.
"If you serve six months [in Wagner], you are free," Prigozhin reportedly said, but that desertion was "a sin."
"If you arrive in Ukraine and decide it's not for you, we will execute you," said Prigozhin.
The tenets of the British intelligence report might have been teased last week by U.S. Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
As Newsmax chronicled on Sept. 8, Milley said Russia's strategic objectives had "been defeated" in its invasion of Ukraine — despite possessing superior manpower and weaponry.
"The war is not over, but so far the Russian strategic objectives have been defeated," Milley said in a news conference at Ramstein Air Base in Germany.
Milley added: "Despite being outgunned and outmanned, the Ukrainians have demonstrated superior tactical proficiency; and they've demonstrated a superior will to fight, fight for their own country, fight for their freedom."
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