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Russia relies on volunteers to defend their positions: think-tank

Russia is still relying on volunteers to replenish its troops in Ukraine. As a consequence it is forming ad hoc units, the US-based Institute for the Study of War (ISW) assessed in a recent report.

The US think tank sees deteriorating relations between the Kremlin, the Ministry of Defence, and the army command, as one of the reasons for the ongoing situation.

According to a Russian military blogger, quoted by ISW only volunteers were part of the previous 3rd army corps. “The formation of such ad-hoc units will lead to further tensions, inequality, and an overall lack of cohesiveness between forces,” the ISW stated.

Russian President Vladimir #Putin is increasingly relying on irregular volunteer and proxy forces rather than conventional units and formations of the #Russian Federation Armed Forces.

— ISW (@TheStudyofWar) September 19, 2022

Situation on the frontlines

Describing the situation on the frontline, the ISW assesses that in the Kherson region in southern Ukraine, Russian troops are “likely attempting to conduct a more deliberate and controlled withdrawal in western Kherson Oblast” to avoid the chaotic retreat that occurred earlier in the Kharkiv region, in the north-east part of the country.

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“The Russians have heavily reinforced western Kherson Oblast over the past several months including with airborne units and at least some elements of the 1st Guards Tank Army. These ostensibly more professional and well-trained and equipped units were concentrated in a small area in Kherson Oblast and were prepared for the expected counteroffensive. They appear to be performing significantly better than Russian forces in Kharkiv Oblast,” the analysis emphasised.

Moreover, the ISW assesses, that the Ukrainian counter-offensive in the Kherson region is making some progress; Russian troops are trying to slow it down rather than conduct their own offensive.

“Donetsk Oblast is the only area in Ukraine in which Russian forces are still attempting offensive operations. There have been sporadic reports of limited Ukrainian counterattacks, but no evidence that Ukraine is preparing a large-scale counteroffensive operation in this area,” the ISW stated.

On August 29, the Ukrainian Armed Forces’ Southern Command announced that the long-awaited counteroffensive to retake the occupied territories in the south of the country has begun.

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