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Putin could be running out of missiles and is waging a ‘logistics war’ to keep his forces supplied – and his generals now blame one another for the ‘disaster’ invasion amid fears of being purged
- Sir Tony Radakin said there was ‘incredible pressure’ in Russia to deliver results
- He said the rate at which Russian forces were using missiles and other armaments meant Putin was engaged in a ‘logistics war’ to keep them supplied
- And Ben Wallace said Russian generals were ‘turning in on themselves’
- Defence Secretary said Russia’s top officers were scapegoats for failed invasion
Vladimir Putin could be running out of missiles and the equipment necessary to continue waging war in Ukraine – and his generals are now blaming each other amid fears of being ‘purged’ for the failed invasion.
Britain’s Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, Chief of the Defence Staff, said in an interview with TalkTV’s The News Desk there was ‘incredible pressure’ in Russia for the campaign to deliver results.
But after 10 weeks of fighting, however, he said the rate at which Russian forces were using missiles and other armaments meant Putin was engaged in a ‘logistics war’ to keep them supplied.
‘He potentially has a problem, because the rate of expenditure and the toughness of the fight is totally different to the one that he perceived on February 24,’ Admiral Radakin said.
‘We’re talking severe impact on their armed forces. We’ve had 25% of their forces effectively being taken out – either through people being killed or through the damage to their battalion tactical groups.’
And Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said during a visit to Finland that Russian generals were ‘turning in on themselves’ because of their failure to secure victory in Ukraine.
Mr Wallace said the country’s top officers were scapegoats for Putin’s failed invasion and are now blaming one another for the ‘disaster’ as they fear being purged if the ‘quagmire’ turns into a retreat.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and General of Army Valery Gerasimov, chief of Russia’s general staff who went to the frontline last month. When asked about if General Gerasimov had been sent to Ukraine to be a ‘fall guy’ for the failure, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: ‘They’re all in fall guy territory. Be careful if you’re out in sole command of something in the Russian system, because it may not be for long’
Pictured: The latest Defence Intelligence update on the situation in Ukraine – 5 May 2022. Admiral Radakin said that while there were ‘real risks’ the Russians could gain ground in the Donbas in eastern Ukraine – the new focus of their offensive – they had little time to make the improvements needed after they were driven back from the capital
A service member of pro-Russian troops stands atop an armoured personnel carrier during fighting in Ukraine-Russia conflict near the Azovstal steel plant in the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine May 5
A woman walks past tanks belonging to the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic – a Russian-backed proxy group – parked amid the ruins of the city of Mariupol
Ukrainian fighters at Mariupol’s pulverized steel plant are holding out against Russia
Ukrainian fighters in the tunnels underneath Mariupol’s pulverized steel plant held out against Russian troops Thursday in an increasingly desperate and perhaps doomed effort to deny Moscow what would be its biggest success of the war yet: the complete capture of the strategic port city.
The bloody battle came amid growing speculation that President Vladimir Putin wants to present the Russian people with a battlefield triumph – or announce an escalation of the war – in time for Victory Day on Monday. Victory Day is the biggest patriotic holiday on the Russian calendar, marking the Soviet Union’s triumph over Nazi Germany.
Some 2,000 Ukrainian fighters, by Russia’s most recent estimate, were holed up at Mariupol’s sprawling Azovstal steelworks, the last pocket of resistance in a city largely reduced to rubble over the past two months. A few hundred civilians were also believed trapped there.
The defenders will ‘stand till the end. They only hope for a miracle,’ Kateryna Prokopenko said after speaking by phone to her husband, a leader of the steel plant defenders. ‘They won’t surrender.’
She said her husband, Azov Regiment commander Denys Prokopenko, told her he would love her forever.
‘I am going mad from this. It seemed like words of goodbye,’ she said.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the attack was preventing the evacuation of civilians remaining in the plant’s underground bunkers.
‘Just imagine this hell! And there are children there,’ he said late Thursday in his nightly video address. ‘More than two months of constant shelling, bombing, constant death.’
The Russians managed to get inside with the help of an electrician who knew the layout, said Anton Gerashchenko, an adviser to Ukraine’s Internal Affairs Ministry.
‘He showed them the underground tunnels which are leading to the factory,’ Gerashchenko said in a video posted late Wednesday. ‘Yesterday, the Russians started storming these tunnels, using the information they received from the betrayer.’
The Kremlin denied its troops were storming the plant.
Mr Wallace, who was observing a military exercise with British troops and tanks in Finland, said generals were getting nearer to the frontline in an attempt to ‘sort out this quagmire they’re in’ by ‘shouting and screaming at people’ – but said this does not typically get ‘the best result’, The Times reports.
When asked about if General Valery Gerasimov, chief of Russia’s general staff who went to the frontline last month, had been sent to Ukraine to be a ‘fall guy’ for the failure, Mr Wallace said: ‘They’re all in fall guy territory. Be careful if you’re out in sole command of something in the Russian system, because it may not be for long.
‘There is a point of tension in the system. As much as they respect the former KGB man [Putin] for being a strong leader, the Russian general staff are going to be made scapegoats for his mess.’
Mr Wallace also said there was no one close to Putin who has advised him to abandon his plans to seize Ukraine, and their ‘quagmire’ could soon turn into a ‘rout’ if they fail again, as they did north of Kyiv.
And Admiral Radakin said that while there were ‘real risks’ the Russians could gain ground in the Donbas in eastern Ukraine – the new focus of their offensive – they had little time to make the improvements needed after they were driven back from the capital.
‘You’re also seeing, on a daily basis, Russia struggling to get the momentum, struggling to align its air forces with its land forces and struggling to get what we call a modern campaign which creates that momentum,’ he said.
He said the Russians were in for a ‘hard slog’ and questioned whether the ‘rushed manner’ in which Mr Putin was seeking to achieve victory would succeed.
‘I think what we’re now seeing is incredible pressure – political pressure and military pressure – for a victory,’ he said.
‘This is going to be a tough fight. And it’s going to carry on being a tough fight. This is going to be a hard slog.
‘You’re seeing the tactical fight, where he’s trying to rush to a tactical victory, and then he’ll push that with his own people.’
Admiral Radakin confirmed Defence Secretary Ben Wallace had warned Chancellor Rishi Sunak that rising inflation and the need to arm Ukraine meant the UK could miss its commitment to spend 2% of national income on defence.
Mr Wallace was reported to have written to the Chancellor ahead of the Spring Statement in March that the Nato spending target was in jeopardy but had received no reply.
‘We’re a big-spending department and we have regular conversations at all levels with the Treasury,’ Admiral Radakin said.
‘The Defence Secretary writing to the Chancellor to say this is our view of where defence spending is going, I think is pretty normal business.
‘At the moment, under this spending review, we’re above 2% through the whole period. And then it starts to peter off, I think, in 2024/25.
Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, Chief of the Defence Staff, said there was ‘incredible pressure’ in Russia for the campaign to deliver results
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said during a visit to Finland that Russian generals were ‘turning in on themselves’ because of their failure to secure victory in Ukraine
A tank driven by troops of Russian proxy Donetsk People’s Republic rolls into Mariupol, after much of the city was captured
‘At the moment the trajectory is going up and then it gets really close staying above 2%. Then that needs to be a fresher conversation, because the ambition of this Government is to stay above 2%.’
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister discussed developments on the battlefield with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky.
In a call on Thursday afternoon, Boris Johnson noted ‘how important Ukraine’s democratic values are as a counterweight to Russia’s failing autocracy’, a Downing Street spokesperson said.
The pair also spoke about the Ukrainian armed forces’ requirements, including the provision of longer-range weaponry to prevent the bombardment of civilians, the spokesperson added.
Dozens of Russian servicemen go to court to challenge ‘illegal’ order to send them to fight in Putin’s invasion of Ukraine in rare show of open dissent
- Soldiers are suing the army after they were fired for refusing to fight in Ukraine
- The 25 servicemen are taking their region commander to court at a military base
- Hundreds of guards from 17+ cities and regions are mulling the same move
- True number of Russian army ‘refuseniks’ could be as high as 40 per cent
- The trial, which is a rare public spat among Putin’s forces, begins tomorrow
A group of Russian soldiers are suing the army after they were fired for refusing to fight in Ukraine.
In a rare public spat involving the Kremlin, 25 National Guard ‘refuseniks’ defied their commanders’ orders to invade Ukraine.
The servicemen are taking North Caucasian District commander Lt-Gen Sergey Zakharov to court at the Vladikavkaz military base in south-western Russia.
Proceedings are set to begin tomorrow, according to lawyer and human rights campaigner Pavel Chikov.
Putin (pictured with army chiefs Valery Gerasimov, left, and Sergei Shoigu, right in 2021) faces a public spat involving his own soldiers as 25 infantrymen take their commander to court
The test case aims to declare their dismissal order ‘illegal’ since it was based on their refusal to go to Ukraine.
Human rights lawyer Pavel Chikov is set to represent the ‘refusenik’ Russian soldiers
Hundreds of guards from at least 17 cities and regions have sought legal advice and aim to follow the Vladikavkaz 25 in launching legal cases.
The true number of ‘refuseniks’ may be far higher, with some estimating that between 20 and 40 per cent of conscripted soldiers refused to join Putin’s war.
Many Russian fighters have complained about having to kill their Slavic neighbours. Vicious fighting in the eastern Donbas region has also reportedly put many off.
Russia’s National Guard is an ‘internal’ security force reporting directly to Putin.
North Caucasian District commander Lt-Gen Sergey Zakharov (left) is being taken to court by 25 of his own soldiers after they were sacked for refusing to fight. General Valery Gerasimov (right) has been responsible for the faltering invasion and was reportedly injured by shrapnel
The ‘Vladikavkaz 25’ may inspire a nationwide revolt (Caucasus pictured in the background)
They were sent into Ukraine early in the war when the Kremlin believed that locals would rapidly surrender to Russian troops.
The aim was that the guards would keep order in Ukrainian cities.
Many died although figures have not been disclosed.
Lawyers from a number of other cities and regions are working on more cases, including Krasnodar, Nalchik, Cherkessk, Samara, Moscow region, Veliky Novgorod, Simferopol, Novocherkassk, Vladivostok, Stavropol, Abakan, Pskov, Orenburg, Ulan-Ude, Petersburg, and Smolensk.