The Russian military is so devastated in Ukraine that it might need a decade to recover fully, according to US intelligence officials.
Speaking during a Thursday Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, Defense Intelligence Agency director Lt. Gen. Scott D. Berrier claimed that the reorganized Russian military since the early 2000s is now “largely gone.”
It is now reportedly relying on reserve troops and older Soviet-era equipment to support its operations in Ukraine.
“The estimates go from five to 10 years based on how sanctions affect them and their ability to put technology back into their force,” Berrier said about Moscow’s future rebuilding efforts.
He further noted that invading forces would take a while to build back up to advanced equipment and well-trained troops.
The White House believes Russia’s military has suffered around 100,000 casualties in the last four months of fighting.
The figures are roughly the same number of troops that Russian President Vladimir Putin initially sent to Ukraine, which he said were enough to defeat the war-torn nation.
Because of the massive number of casualties, US intelligence officials assert that the Russians are unlikely to be able to mount a significant offensive operation this year.
“In fact, if Russia does not initiate a mandatory mobilization [of troops] and secure substantial third-party ammunition supplies … from Iran and others, it will be increasingly challenging for them to sustain even modest offensive operations,” National Intelligence director Avril Haines told the committee.
Shift of Focus
Moscow’s depleting weaponry has made the military shift its focus to the eastern Ukrainian town of Bakhmut, which experts say has limited strategic value.
Haines pointed out that the invading forces gained less territory last month than during the three previous months.
Russia also appears to be transitioning from offensive to defensive operations along the frontlines due to Ukraine’s increasing counter-offensives.
“Both sides are focusing on preparations for a potential Ukrainian counter offensive this spring or summer, designed to push Russia out of illegally annexed territory,” Haines stressed.
Russia struggling to resupply its ground forces with conventional weapons is not good news at all, according to US intelligence officials.
They noted that the country’s nuclear arsenal remains formidable and must not be left out of the discussion.
Moscow’s losses will also leave it less capable of posing a conventional military threat, which could cause Putin to become even more reliant on asymmetric options, such as nuclear, cyber, and space capabilities.