Russia using mercenaries to replace troop losses in Ukraine: US analysts

Russia is using private military companies and proxy militias to make up for the heavy troop losses Ukraine as it has run out of combat-ready reservists, DC-based Institute for the Study of War said in an analysis.

“Russian private military companies are reportedly forming combined units with airborne elements due to significant losses in manpower. Denaturing elite airborne units with mercenaries is shocking, and would be the clearest indication yet that Russia has exhausted its available combat-ready manpower reserves,” the analysts said.

The analysis added: “The Ukrainian Military Intelligence Directorate stated that Russian forces are conducting covert mobilization and creating new units with newly mobilized personnel who likely have insufficient training to be effective and little motivation to fight.”

It noted that Russian forces deployed new conscripts from the occupied settlements in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts to maintain an offensive around Kharkiv City, “likely due to the lack of Russian reserves.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked the troops who have reached the Russian border near Kharkiv, after a group of soldiers recorded a victorious video of their efforts to push the Russians back to the border and away from the capital Kyiv.

“Fellows in Kharkiv, 227 battalion, 127 brigade of the Ukrainian territorial defence. I’m very grateful to you, on behalf of all Ukrainians, on my behalf and on behalf of my family. My gratitude has no limits… great job. I’m very grateful to all the fighters like you. Everything [all occupied territories] will be Ukraine. Glory to Ukraine,” he said.

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