The Russian military seems to have found an effective war footing amid Ukraine’s highly-anticipated spring counteroffensive, a recent UK Ministry of Defence intelligence report acknowledged.
The ministry, which regularly releases updates about Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, said Russian forces have refined strategies aimed at slowing down Kyiv’s attempts to advance its tanks and armored vehicles.
Russia has reportedly deployed more anti-tank mines than stated in its military doctrine to prevent Western-supplied tanks from advancing.
When the mines explode beneath Ukrainian armored vehicles, Russian forces strike with unmanned vehicles, attack helicopters, and artillery.
Latest Defence Intelligence update on the situation in Ukraine – 4July 2023.
Find out more about Defence Intelligence's use of language: https://t.co/NrXBzGy3WF
— Ministry of Defence 🇬🇧 (@DefenceHQ) July 4, 2023
Russia’s heavy use of land mines was previously mentioned by international military observers, who said Kyiv was engaging in a “suicide mission” by charging into enemy minefields without deploying mine-clearing vehicles first.
Despite Moscow achieving “some success” with its approach, the UK intel claims that it continues to suffer from critical weaknesses, such as overstretched units and a shortage of artillery munitions.
Prioritizing Western Supplies
When Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, Moscow’s forces focused on capturing key territories by carrying out numerous air strikes.
But when Western-made weapons and equipment started arriving, the invading forces shifted their priority to destroying them.
In an interview with US-based ABC News, a Ukrainian general revealed that the Russians specifically target Leopard tanks and other weapons supplied by Ukraine’s allies.
“They are trying to destroy as many vehicles as possible. It’s a priority for them,” General Oleksandr Tarnavskyi said.
His statement came a few weeks after the Russian defense ministry announced that it would provide up to $1,200 bonuses to its troops for every destroyed Western tank in Ukraine.
It also vowed to incentivize soldiers who can eliminate Western-supplied warplanes and US-made HIMARS rockets used by Kyiv.