Russia has suffered several huge setbacks following the invasion of its eastern neighbour, losing tens of thousands of troops in battle – including several high-ranking military personnel with close links to the Russian President. Last Saturday, the Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs revealed the shocking scale of Russia’s increasing struggles in the war after 157 days. In a post on Twitter, the Government organisation claimed there had been more than 40,000 “liquidated personnel”, while 22 aircraft and 190 helicopters had been wiped out.
But now in the latest humiliation for Vladimir Putin, its is being reported that Russia’s elite paratrooper group are resorting to desperate measures as personnel numbers plummet.
Twitter user “Igor Sushko” (@igorsushko) told his 113,000 followers in a post: “According to journalist Roman Tsimbalyuk VDV, the so-called elite Russian Paratroopers, are actively recruiting current prisoners convicted for heavy crimes, as well as those with such criminal history.
“Cases specifically documented for 45th VDV Regiment, unit 28337, Kubinka.
“45th VDV Special Forces regiment is one of those annihilated during the Blitzkrieg of Kyiv as they attempted to seize control of the Hostomel airport.”
Fellow Twitter user “Chuck Pfarrer” (@ChuckPfarrer), who describes himself as a “Former SEAL Team Six Squadron Leader”, told his 34,000 followers: “BURN RATE – Russian troop losses in UKR are presently unsustainable.
“With recruiting numbers down, Igor Sushko reports that the VDV, Russia’s ‘elite’ Airborne Force, is now recruiting felons, ex-convicts, and even currently incarcerated prisoners to join up.”
Midway through the war in Ukraine, the UK’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) warned Putin’s VDV paratroopers had suffered heavy losses after being thrown into battles more suited to heavier armoured infantry units.
British intelligence said the elite group had been involved in “several notable tactical failures”, including the disastrous failed crossing of the Siverskyi Donets river in eastern Ukraine in April and the storming of Hostomel airport outside Kyiv.
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The paratroopers had used around 30 helicopters in their assault on the airport but their victory was only temporary as it was quickly retaken by the Ukrainians.
In a daily intelligence update, the MoD tweeted on May 26: “Russia’s airborne forces – the VDV – have been heavily involved in several notable tactical failures since the start of Russia’s invasion.
“This includes the attempted advance on Kyiv via Hostomel Airfield in March, the stalled progress on the Izium axis since April, and the recent failed and costly crossings of the Siverskyi Donets River.
“The VDV has been employed on missions better suited to heavier armoured infantry and has sustained heavy casualties during the campaign.
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“Its mixed performance likely reflects a strategic mismanagement of this capability and Russia’s failure to secure air superiority.”
The MoD continued: “The misemployment of the VDV in Ukraine highlights how Putin’s significant investment in the armed forces over the last 15 years has resulted in an unbalanced overall force.
“The failure to anticipate Ukrainian resistance and the subsequent complacency of Russian commanders has led to significant losses across many of Russia’s more elite units.”