Russia Resorting to 'Obsolete' Gear, 'Ad Hoc' Reinforcements in Ukraine: UK

The United Kingdom's Ministry of Defence said Saturday that as the Russian military assembles reinforcements near Ukraine, many of its troops are being placed in "ad hoc groupings," and have been equipped with "obsolete or inappropriate" gear.

In an intelligence update posted to Twitter, the ministry said that Russia is "moving reserve forces from across the country and assembling them near Ukraine for future offensive operations," and added that many of the new infantry units are "probably deploying" MT-LB armored vehicles, which Russia "has long considered unsuitable for most front-line infantry transport roles."

"It was originally designed in the 1950s as a tractor to pull artillery, has very limited armour, and only mounts a machine gun for protection," the ministry said.

The U.K. Ministry of Defence went on to say that Russia's "first echelon assault units" by comparison had vehicles with armor "up to 33mm thick," "powerful" cannons, and anti-tank missile launchers.

"Despite President Putin's claim on 07 July 2022 that the Russian military 'has not even started' its efforts in Ukraine, many of its reinforcements are ad hoc groupings deploying with obsolete or inappropriate equipment," the ministry concluded.

Newsweek has reached out to the Russian Ministry of Defense for comment.

Russia Resorting to ‘Obsolete’ Gear in Ukraine
The United Kingdom's Ministry of Defence said Saturday that as the Russian military assembles reinforcements near Ukraine, many of its troops are being placed in "ad hoc groupings," and have been equipped with "obsolete or inappropriate" gear. Above, the central square of the Trostyanets, Ukraine, now a vast field of wrecked BMP's and Russian tanks on April 21. Gaelle Girbes

In a separate intelligence update in May, the U.K. defence ministry claimed that Russia had lost a large number of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) in Ukraine, and added that the country was likely seeing "a shortage" of the vehicles, "which is exacerbated by limitations in its domestic manufacturing capacity resulting from sanctions."

In late June, the U.K. ministry said that Ukrainian forces "continue to disrupt Russian command and control with successful strikes deep behind Russian lines," and that Russian armed forces are "increasingly hollowed out." It also said that the Russian military is accepting "a level of degraded combat effectiveness, which is probably unsustainable in the long term."

In an editorial last month, John Dobson, a former U.K. Naval attaché to Moscow, argued that Russia's failures during the war will lead to the "demise" of its arms industry.

"Russia's general sales pitch for its weapons has always been that they are cheaper and easier to maintain than Western alternatives...But this pitch may no longer be effective for many countries that have seen Russian equipment losses and failures on the battlefield," Dobson wrote.

He added that experts have estimated Russia has lost roughly 1,000 tanks, 50 helicopters, and 400 artillery pieces.