Russian Army's Lack of Breaks a 'Damaging' Issue for Force, U.K. Claims

The Russian army's lack of rest breaks during the ongoing war in Ukraine is likely "one of the most damaging" of the many personnel issues it is facing in the conflict, the British Minister of Defense claimed this week.

In its daily intelligence update on Monday, the ministry highlighted a report that surfaced in late June claiming that Russian wives were begging for "exhausted" soldiers to be returned home from Ukraine.

"In late June, a Russian-language media agency based in Russia's far eastern Lake Baikal region uploaded a video in which the wives of soldiers from the Eastern Military District's (EMD's) 36th Combined Arms Army directly appealed to a local politician for their husbands to be returned home from service in Ukraine," the ministry said.

"One woman claimed that personnel of EMD's 5th Separate Guards Tank Brigade are 'mentally and physically exhausted,' because they have been on active combat duty since the launch of the 'special military operation'," it added. "The lack of scheduled breaks from intense combat conditions is highly likely one of the most damaging of the many personnel issues the Russian MoD is struggling to rectify amongst the deployed force."

Since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24 in what Russian President Vladimir Putin has called "a special military operation," Moscow has not achieved its initial aim of taking Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital. Despite having a large advantage in the number of troops, Russian forces were met with fierce resistance from Ukraine's army and had to switch focus to the eastern Donbas region, which contains the provinces of Luhansk and Donetsk. Putin has claimed those areas of eastern Ukraine are self-governing, independent states.

"As of Sunday, July 10, Russian artillery bombardments continued in the northern Donbas sector, but probably without any major territorial advances," the U.K. defense ministry said.

"Ukrainian forces continued to apply localized pressure to the Russian defensive line in North East Kherson oblast, also probably without achieving territorial gain."

Newsweek has reached out to the Russian defense ministry for comment.

Meanwhile, The Times of London reported on Sunday that Ukraine intends to amass a "million-strong army" to fight Russia, citing defense minister Oleksii Reznikov.

The minister said that Western weapon deliveries to his country needed to be sped up to take on Putin's army.

"We need more, quickly, to save the lives of our soldiers. Each day we're waiting for howitzers, we can lose a hundred soldiers," said Reznikov.

"We have approximately 700,000 in the armed forces and when you add the national guard, police, border guard, we are around a million-strong," he added.

Russian soldier
The Russian army’s lack of breaks is a “one of the most damaging” of the many personnel issues it is facing in its war in Ukraine, the British Ministry of Defense has claimed. Pictured, a Russian soldier cleans military vehicles during a Victory Day Parade night rehearsal on Tverskaya street on May 4, 2022 in Moscow. Oleg Nikishin/Getty