Tags: russia | ukraine | military | mozart group | kyiv

US Veteran: Russia's Army Will 'Continue to Weaken'

A boy poses for a photo atop a burned-out Russian military vehicle Aug. 22 in Kyiv
A boy poses for a photo atop a burned-out Russian military vehicle Aug. 22 in Kyiv. (Getty Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 06 September 2022 11:55 AM EDT

As it confronts the Ukrainian counteroffensive, a U.S. Army veteran training Kyiv's troops believes that Russia's army will "continue to weaken."

Newsweek reports that Erik, a 26-year veteran of U.S. Army Special Forces, who is not using his last name for security reasons, is training Ukraine's fighters as they work to repel Russian troops from the southern and eastern regions of the former Soviet nation.

Erik is a volunteer for the Mozart Group, an organization founded by former Marine Corps Col. Andy Milburn.

Speaking from near the southern front line on Friday, Erik told Newsweek that while the emerging Ukrainian counteroffensive in Kherson will be "very bloody," Russian forces are "just going to continue to weaken."

"They can't train soldiers quick enough," Erik said, referencing reports that Russia cannot replace the scores of soldiers believed killed and injured since Russian President Vladimir Putin's invasion of the neighboring country began Feb. 24.

Putin has so far avoided a full military mobilization, with experts saying that the Kremlin is worried such conscription would plunge the country into economic and social turmoil.

Moscow reportedly is attempting to shore up its manpower deficit with mercenaries, homeless men, volunteer regiments, mental health patients, and convicted criminals.        

"Those are definitely not quality people," Erik told Newsweek.

Russia has also reportedly been using a mix of Cold War-era ammunition and armored vehicles and imports from North Korea and Iran.

"They're using armored personnel carriers and ammunition from stockpiles from pre-Afghanistan in the 1980s," Erik said. "And I'm willing to bet some of the stockpiles from the 1960s and 1970s for their ammunition. That stuff degrades over time."

"In a lot of ways, they've reached the zenith of their capabilities," he added.

The conflict in Ukraine has shattered the illusion of a modern Russian military, as problems with logistics and creative Ukrainian defensive maneuvers hampered the frenetic run to Kyiv.

Though they have made substantial gains in the eastern Donbas area, Russian forces have not completely captured the Luhansk and Donetsk regions and have incurred heavy casualties.

Long-range Ukrainian strikes have destroyed key supply routes and hubs in the south, while thousands of Russian soldiers in Kherson are meeting a counterattack. If Russia loses southern Ukraine, it would allow access to Crimea, which Ukrainian officials have sworn to free.   

"They're not quite as bad as they initially seemed, but they're damn near not nearly as good as we thought prior to the war," Erik said of Russian forces. "They did an extremely good job of information operations in the West. They're not nearly as good with everything from electronic warfare to just basic tactics."

"The Russians still fall back on World War II tactics: mass fire, mass mobilization, massed troops," he added.

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As it confronts the Ukrainian counteroffensive, a U.S. Army veteran training Kyiv's troops believes that Russia's army will "continue to weaken."
russia, ukraine, military, mozart group, kyiv
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2022-55-06
Tuesday, 06 September 2022 11:55 AM
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