Wrecked Russian fighter planes found with rudimentary GPS receivers ‘taped to dashboards’

Wallace says Russia’s top officers failed their troops on the ground

Arpan Rai
Wednesday 11 May 2022 21:38 BST
Wreckage of convoy seen after civilians attacked attempting to evacuate Kharkiv
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British defence secretary Ben Wallace said a chargesheet of the Russian army’s failure, including poor battle preparation and inadequate equipment for its invasion in Ukraine, should be placed at the feet of Moscow’s General Staff of the Russian Army.

Mr Wallace’s comments came after GPS receivers were allegedly found taped to the dashboards of downed Russian SU-34s.

Calling the Russian invasion of Ukraine an “illegal war”, Mr Wallace on Monday said that Russia’s top officers failed their troops on the ground as their vehicles did not contain situational awareness and digital battle management as required.

Citing Russia’s inadequate equipment and support to soldiers during invasion, the defence secretary said: “Russian vehicles had not been maintained properly and immobilised many logistics vehicles, leading to cheap tyres being blown out and truck axle hub failures, all due to poor maintenance or the money for that maintenance being taken elsewhere.”

“As an aside, the sheer amount of footage from Ukrainian drones suggests to me that they also lack wider air defence and counter-UAV system,” Mr Wallace said in a speech at the National Army Museum in London on Russia’s “illegal and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine”.

He added that many vehicles are frequently found with 1980s paper maps of Ukraine in them, without specifying which vehicles and their location.

“But it’s not just ground forces. ‘GPS’ receivers have been found taped to the dashboards of downed Russian SU-34s so the pilots knew where they were, due to the poor quality of their own systems,” he said.

Mr Wallace said that the result now is that while “Russia have large amounts of artillery and armour that they like parading, they are unable to leverage them for combined arms manoeuvre and just resort to mass indiscriminate barrages.”

The top defence official said that Russia’s top brass should face court martial and that many soldiers in the Russian army will not get a voice to question Moscow.

“I know soldiers in the Russian army will not get a voice and there will be thousands of mothers and wives who do not agree with this illegal war, who will be asking themselves why these things happened,” Mr Wallace said.

He panned Russia’s “bad battle preparation, poor operational planning, inadequate equipment and support and most importantly corruption and the moral component.”

Within a month of the war, the UK intelligence had said that Russian troops were facing food and fuel shortages in a “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,” the defence ministry had pointed out on 18 March.

According to the officials in Kyiv, Russia has lost more than 26,000 troops in the course of its invasion of Ukraine which has spanned more than 76 days now.

Moscow, however, has not revealed its military losses in Ukraine.

The Independent has a proud history of campaigning for the rights of the most vulnerable, and we first ran our Refugees Welcome campaign during the war in Syria in 2015. Now, as we renew our campaign and launch this petition in the wake of the unfolding Ukrainian crisis, we are calling on the government to go further and faster to ensure help is delivered.

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