Where are the Russian troops making mistakes in Ukraine, unable to make the desired progress?

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Russian army abandons broken vehicle

Russia has one of the largest and most powerful troops in the world, but so far it has not made the progress desired in Ukraine. Many Western military experts do not hide their surprises about Russia’s performance on the ground.

Slow progress on the ground, some military experts urged him to ask, “Can Russia overcome its losses?” “Russia clearly couldn’t reach that goal and probably won’t,” NATO’s senior military official told the BBC this week.

So what went wrong? I asked top executives of Western military and intelligence agencies about Russia’s mistakes.

Wrong assumption

Russia’s first mistake was to underestimate the defense capabilities of Ukraine’s much smaller army. Russia allocates $ 60 billion to its annual defense budget, while Ukraine allocates $ 4 billion. This has led Russia to underestimate its power.

Russia, like many other powerful troops, may overestimate its military strength. President Vladimir Putin has long been enthusiastic about planning to modernize the Russian army, but in return he may have thought that his army was much stronger than it really is.

Ukraine and Russia military comparison chart


Most of Russia’s defense investment has been used to develop nuclear capabilities and conduct experiments in this regard, according to information provided by senior British Army officials. This includes the production of new weapons such as hypersonic missiles.

The T-14 Armata, which was exhibited at the Victory Day Parades in Russia’s Red Square and was introduced as the most advanced tank in the world, has never been used in this war. .. Most of the tanks deployed by Russia are old T-72 tanks, armored personnel carriers, cannons, missile launchers …

At the beginning of the invasion, Russia had a very clear advantage in the air, the number of fighters sent to the border was three times that of Ukrainian fighters. For this reason, many military experts believed that Russia would soon have an advantage in the air. But that didn’t happen. Defense against Ukrainian fighters has so far been effective enough to limit Russia’s maneuverability.

Moscow may also have foreseen that the special forces could play a very quick and decisive role.

Russia believes it is sufficient to send paratroopers like the Spetsnuts and VDVs, depending on the “weakness” of Ukraine’s air defense, which will defeat Ukraine’s defense, Western military officials said. I told the BBC. However, during the first few days, a planned helicopter-destroying attack at Hostmel Airport near Kyiv backfired and Ukrainian defenses repelled the attack. This prevented Russia from occupying the airport used to send troops, ammunition and support.

T-14 Armata Tank

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When the attack at Hostomel Airport was repelled, Russia began sending all support on the road. This has made it easier for Ukraine to target vehicles and convoys traveling on specific traffic. When some heavy weapons got in the way to prevent this, they got caught in the mud and couldn’t move forward.

Meanwhile, a long line of Russian armored vehicles as seen from the northern satellites has not yet joined the siege of Kyiv.

The most important progress came from the south. Railroad tracks are used here to transport both ammunition and the military.

“Putin’s army has lost momentum,” British Defense Minister Ben Wallace told the BBC about all these developments.

“They are stuck and slowly but incur a huge loss.”

Loss and low morality

Russia deployed 190,000 soldiers on the border due to the invasion of Ukraine, a significant portion of which went to the line of conflict. In other words, he actively participated in the war. However, according to Western intelligence, they lost 10 percent of this number in the field. There are no reliable and confirmed details about Russian or Ukrainian casualties, but Ukraine claims that 14,000 Russian soldiers have died. Meanwhile, US intelligence believes that half of this number may be correct.

Western officials also claim that there are signs that Russian soldiers are “very, very low” in morale. “They are cold, tired and hungry,” one official said of a soldier who had been waiting for weeks in Belarus.

To make up for that loss, Russia has already begun to add new troops to the Ukrainian border from the east of the country and from Armenia.

Western officials use the phrase “probably true” for the news that fighters are also being shipped from Syria and they will soon join the war.

Supply and logistics issues

Russia actually has difficulties in a very basic area. There is an old military discourse. “Professionals work logistically and amateurs speak tactics.” There is evidence that Russia did not think enough about logistics in this war. Armored and armed vehicle convoys are short of fuel, food, and ammunition. The broken vehicle is abandoned and towed by a Ukrainian tractor.

Western officials say Russia may also lack some ammunition. Historically, 850-900 target-lock ammunition has been used over long distances, such as guided missiles. They cannot be exchanged for unguided weapons.

US officials have warned that Russia may seek help from China to make up for the flaws in this regard.

Despite all this, there is a regular flow of weapons and military ammunition from Western countries to Ukraine. This also boosts morale. The United States recently announced that it would provide an additional $ 800 million in defense assistance.

In addition to more anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles, the United States is known to supply unmanned aerial vehicles called switchblades. This unmanned aerial vehicle carries explosives and can be detonated when the target is reached.

Western officials have also warned that Putin has sufficient military power to bombard Ukrainian cities for many years to come.

Intelligence officials say Putin is likely to not give up and increase attacks, despite partial disappointment so far. “Putin still believes that Russia can defeat Ukraine militarily.”

Ukrainian troops have shown effective defenses so far, but Western experts also warn that, without very serious support and supply, the resources at hand could soon run out. doing. Because, although not as much as at the beginning of the war, the Russian army still has an advantage.