Russian Troops Face ‘Battle Fatigue’ As Putin Discusses Peace Talks

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Russian President Vladimir Putin claims not to have dismissed the possibility of peace talks.
Russian President Vladimir Putin claims not to have dismissed the possibility of peace talks.

Russian troops are struggling with a shortage of ammunition, lack of reserves and battle fatigue, according to the latest update from UK intelligence.

It comes shortly after Russian president Vladimir Putin alleged that Russia has not completely dismissed the possibility of peace talks to resolve the ongoing war in Ukraine.

In a Twitter post shared on Tuesday, the UK’s ministry of defence suggested “intense fighting” was continuing in the southern city of Orikhiv, Zaporizhzhia, where there’s been more than eight weeks of combat.

Ukraine has reportedly focused its assaults on Russia’s 58th Combined Armed Army – so the Russian troops are “highly likely struggling with battle fatigue and attrition”.

The MoD also claimed fighting in the eastern region of Donetsk, south of the Velyka Novosilka settlement, is creating further problems with “co-ordination”, as troops are coming from different military districts.

Russian soldiers here are “likely to be under particular pressure and probably also feel that they are long overdue for a rotation out of the front line,” according to the UK intelligence officials.

Reports about a shortage of Russian troops have been around for some time. The Russian parliament also extended the draft age for men to be called up to war last month, less than a year after partial mobilisation saw 300,000 reservists called up to serve in the war.

The MoD also noted: “Common problems for Russian commanders are highly likely to include shortage of artillery ammunition, a lack of reserves and problems securing the flanks of units in the defence.”

Putin himself has admitted that Russia does not have enough weapons for the war, telling pro-war bloggers at a meeting in the Kremlin in June that “it has become clear there are shortages of many things”.

After speaking with African leaders in St Petersburg, Putin said last week that he does not reject the notion of peace talks about Ukraine.

Asked about negotiations, the Russian president said: “We did not reject them… In order for this process to begin, there needs to be agreement on both sides.”

Putin said suggestions from his African and Chinese counterparts could make a foundation for peace talks – but warned there would not be a ceasefire until the Ukraine army stopped being on the offensive.

“There are provisions of this peace initiative that are being implemented. But there are things that are difficult or impossible to implement,” he said at a press conference on Friday.

He continued: “The Ukrainian army is on the offensive, they are attacking, they are implementing a large-scale strategic offensive operation… We cannot cease fire when we are under attack.”

Putin also claimed that there were no plans for Russia to amplify its actions in Ukraine.

Kyiv launched its highly anticipated counteroffensive earlier this year, and it has been making steady progress.

There’s also been an uptick in drone attacks on Moscow, although Kyiv has not taken direct responsibility for these assaults.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned on Sunday that attacks on Russia land were an “inevitable, natural and absolutely fair process”.

Although Putin’s mention of peace talks seems promising, both sides say they have very different preconditions which must be met before they sit down for negotiations.

Ukraine has said it will only negotiate on the premise that it gets all Ukrainian land back – including Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014.

Zelenskyy has rejected the idea of a ceasefire, considering Moscow still has control of around one fifth of Ukraine.

But Russia claims that Kyiv has to accept its “new territorial reality”, referring to land it has seized in the south and east.