Russian troops running out of food and fuel as offensive ‘falters’, says UK military intelligence

‘Logistical problems continue to beset faltering invasion,’ says MoD

Emily Atkinson
Friday 18 March 2022 00:16 GMT
Kyiv residents leave streets empty as they take shelter amid curfew

Russian troops are facing food and fuel shortages amid Moscow’s “faltering invasion of Ukraine”, according to a UK military intelligence assessment.

The most recent update on the three-week-old conflict suggests Vladimir Putin’s forces are being forced to divert “large numbers” of troops to defend its supply lines, rather than continuing its offensive, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said.

It follows a series of reports in recent days from Western intelligence that Russia’s fierce invasion of its neighbour has “largely stalled on all fronts”.

A view of a residential building, which was damaged as a result of the explosion of a Russian combat missile, in Kharkiv

The UK MoD said: “Logistical problems continue to beset Russia’s faltering invasion of Ukraine.

“Reluctance to manoeuvre cross-country, lack of control of the air and limited bridging capabilities are preventing Russia from effectively resupplying their forward troops with even basic essentials such as food and fuel.

“Incessant Ukrainian counterattacks are forcing Russia to divert large number of troops to defend their own supply lines. This is severely limiting Russia’s offensive potential.”

Earlier, UK defence officials said the Russian side was continuing to suffer heavy losses and had made “minimal progress on land, sea or air in recent days”.

A man cries in front of the body of his mother, who died after a projectile hit a house in Kyiv

It similarly praised Ukraine’s “staunch and well-coordinated” resistance to the Russian bombardment.

“The vast majority of Ukrainian territory, including all major cities, remains in Ukrainian hands,” the MoD said.

A day earlier, the MoD said Moscow had likely expended far more air-launched weapons than originally planned, forcing Russian troops to resort to using older, less precise weapons “which are less militarily effective and more likely to result in civilian casualties”.

Ukrainian service members patrol in front of the National Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet in Odessa

It comes as a US defence official said that Russian troops had fired more than 1,000 missiles at Ukrainian targets since it launched its invasion.

Another senior US defence official said that the White House had noted signs of “flagging” morale among the Russian forces in some units deployed to Ukraine.

Rescuers work at a site of buildings damaged by a shelling in Kyiv

“We certainly have picked up anecdotal indications that morale is not high in some units,” the official told reporters, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“Some of that is, we believe, a function of poor leadership, lack of information that the troops are getting about their mission and objectives, and I think disillusionment from being resisted (by Ukrainians) as fiercely as they have been.”

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