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Russian military leadership wants to switch to defence, but cannot convince Putin – ISW

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NPR News: 04-23-2023 9AM EDT


Analysts of the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) believe that the Russian military command is likely trying to persuade Russian President Vladimir Putin to abandon offensive operations and switch to defensive ones, but it does not dare to directly convey this idea to the Russian president.

Source: ISW report

Details: The ISW has noted that some Russian ultranationalists said that the Russian Defence Ministry has informed them of efforts to recruit 400,000 contract soldiers to ensure that there are enough troops to defend and efficiently freeze existing fronts in Ukraine.

The ISW has stressed that the Russian military command is redeploying conscripts to hold Russian positions in Crimea and may be planning to prepare new resources to hold the position when the upcoming Ukrainian counter-offensive reaches its climax.

Quote: “Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and Chief of the Russian General Staff Army General Valery Gerasimov are likely sensitive to the threat of the Ukrainian counteroffensive but are likely continuing to send contract servicemen to reinforce senseless offensive operations at Putin’s insistence.”

More details: ISW has highlighted that Putin favours loyalty over competence, which probably prevents Shoigu and Gerasimov from focusing on creating optimal conditions for effective defence instead of wasting elite units in exhausting battles for little gain.

Quote: “Putin’s continued insistence on Russian offensive operations in eastern Ukraine suggests that the group that wants to freeze the war along the current front lines has not fully persuaded Putin.”

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