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Russian paratroopers suffered heavy losses

Russian paratroopers suffered heavy losses

Among the units that suffered the greatest losses were the Russian elite forces.

“The high mortality rate, especially among units like the VDV, which were considered elite before 2022, is largely a reflection of the fact that the Russian military command chose to conduct many different operations along the entire front line, thus prioritizing small advances at the cost of Huge losses,” he writes Institute for the study of war (ISO).

VDV is the name given to the Airborne Forces of Russia. The Parachute Force was established in 1992 when units of the Soviet Airborne Forces came under Russian control after the breakup of the Soviet Union.

Troops are distinguished by blue berets and blue striped undershirts. Soldiers are deployed with a number of specialized vehicles, and units are fully automated and have access to heavy weapons. Training to become an elite soldier is difficult. Only the best passes through the eye of a needle.

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It takes many years to train elite forces

During the first days of the invasion, which began on the night of 24 February 2022, VDV forces played a decisive role. Among other things, they were flown deep into Ukrainian territory, and assigned to take control of Hostomil Airport outside Kiev. Here they had to create a bridgehead to receive Russian troops. But the plan failed.

The troops met surprisingly strong resistance, and suffered heavy losses. Entire departments are said to have been almost annihilated or captured during the violent skirmishes.

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Later, VDV divisions were deployed in several forward divisions that came under significant pressure. This led to new significant losses. Since these forces take many years to train, Russia's VDV forces are now significantly weakened.

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Military blogger: 'Unable to rest and recover'

Before the war, the VDV consisted of about 45,000 carefully selected soldiers. Now the strength has greatly decreased and it is on the verge of collapse.

According to a Russian military blogger, who posted his observations on December 31, Russian VDV forces are said to have suffered extremely heavy losses and are unable to rest and recover.

The blogger wrote that VDV regiments had to withdraw from the Krynki area on the east bank of Kherson Oblast to rest and regroup after almost continuous fighting in the area.

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ISW: “Ukraine’s Western partners should beware of complacency”

The British Ministry of Defense wrote on 14 December that parts of the 104th VDV may have suffered exceptionally heavy losses near Krienki due to insufficient air and artillery support, and a lack of combat experience among the soldiers.

“Russian forces carried out several waves of infantry-led mechanized attacks to seize Avdiivka in Donetsk Oblast despite heavy personnel losses. (…) Ukraine's Western partners must guard against complacency when assessing Russian losses and operational failures in Ukraine, as Previously reviewed by the Institute for the Study of War.

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“Russia lost more than a quarter of its equipment.”

According to US intelligence estimates, Russia has lost 315,000 soldiers from its ground forces since the invasion. CNN. According to the same report, up to 3,500 Russian tanks were destroyed.

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Russian paratroopers participate in a mass in the Church of the Annunciation of the Virgin in Sokolniki during the celebration of the 90th anniversary of the Russian Airborne Forces. Photo: Alexander Zemlyanichenko/AP

Russia has lost more than a quarter of its equipment. This reduced the complexity and scale of Russian offensive operations. “They have not succeeded in making significant progress since the beginning of 2022,” the intelligence report says.

Russian expert and senior researcher at the Danish Institute for International Studies (DIIS), Flemming Spledsboel, points out the huge increase in the Russian defense budget, but even this is not enough to give Russia long-awaited gains on the battlefield.

– They can keep it going for a while, but they can't keep it going forever. Russia has 600,000 soldiers, equivalent to 20% of the area of ​​Ukraine. If they wanted to go further, it would require a huge amount of resources to invade and patrol, says the Danish researcher. TV 2.

If the pace of Russian troop losses continues at the current pace, half a million Russian soldiers will have been killed or injured by the end of 2024.