Ukraine has said that Russia’s newest grouping reportedly on the move to the frontline in a bid to bolster Moscow’s war effort is months away from being combat ready.
Based in Mulino, in the Nizhny Novgorod region east of Moscow, Russia’s 3rd Army Corps is said to be the first big new formation assembled for the Ukraine war as the Kremlin tries to replace huge troop losses.
Recent intelligence indicates the formation is moving to the front via rail lines. Conflict Intelligence Team (CIT) reported last month that equipment is being transported by rail to Neklynivka railway station in Russia’s Rostov region, near the border with Ukraine’s Donetsk region.
However, Vadym Skibitskyi, a representative of Ukraine’s Defense Intelligence said that equipment and personnel problems were hampering Russia’s ability to form the new corps.
“The issue of establishment of the 3rd Army Corps will drag on until November,” he told Ukrainian Military Television, adding that it would take “three to four months” for Russia to train its specialists.
He said that “according to our assessments, 40 percent of [Russia’s] military equipment is not combat-ready. “It needs to be repaired and put in order,” he added, according to a translation of his comments carried by the Ukrainian publication Defense Express.
He said the latest equipment Russia was using “entered our territory in February-March” and that the units being formed “are still equipped with Soviet-style weapons.” Newsweek has contacted the Russian Defense Ministry for comment.
The Wall Street Journal reported that troops training for the 3rd Army Corp have been seen inebriated and bothering local residents, suggesting that the troops lack the discipline to help Russia’s war effort.
On August 25, Vladimir Putin ordered Russia’s military to expand by 137,000 beginning in 2023. While estimates vary, the Pentagon said last month up to 80,000 Russian troops have been killed or wounded in the war.
Moscow is struggling to find volunteers to bolster numbers amid the decision not to mobilize the general population as the conflict becomes a grinding war of attrition.
As Russia looks to reinforce its ranks, Ukraine has started a counteroffensive in the south, with a focus on the Kherson region and its capital of the same name, whose strategic location at the entrance to the Black Sea makes it a prize for both sides.
Britain’s Ministry of Defense said in its daily update on Saturday that Ukrainian forces have “likely achieved a degree of tactical surprise” in the counter-offensive by taking advantage of “poor logistics, administration and leadership” in Russia’s military.