Putin ‘exhausted’ Russian supplies as ‘fatigued’ forces losing momentum in Ukraine

Ukraine: Strike on Russian air bases is 'blow to morale' for Russia

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Kyrylo Budanov described Moscow’s resources in Ukraine as “exhausted” in a television address on Wednesday. He said: “Russia has rather seriously slowed down the tempo of its assault.

“The reason for this is the exhaustion of their resource base, as well as a moral and physical fatigue from the fighting.”

This comes as Russia’s defence minister, Sergei Shoigu, insisted that Russia had “deliberately” put the brakes on its advance through Ukraine.

He claimed Russian forces’ efforts to avoid civilian deaths had reduced the speed of their progress.

He said: “Everything is being done to avoid casualties among civilians.

“Of course, this slows down the pace of the offensive, but we are doing this deliberately.”

Russia has made gains in Ukraine, taking the southern Kherson region.

But since pulling back from Kyiv and its surrounding regions, the Russian forces have only made small gains in the eastern Donbas region.

Russia said in March it was regrouping away from these recently-targeted areas to focus on “liberating” Donetsk and Luhansk.

A senior Russian military official said at the time: “The main objectives of the first stage of the operation have generally been accomplished.”

He added: “The combat potential of the Armed Forces of Ukraine has been considerably reduced.”

He said this made “it possible to focus our core efforts on achieving the main goal, the liberation of Donbas”.

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has previously said that “Russian morale highly likely remains especially troubled”.

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The MoD added in June: “Cases of whole Russian units refusing orders and armed stand-offs between officers and their troops continue to occur.”

The MoD then said various factors were driving such noticeable low morale within Russian forces.

It described: “Drivers for low Russian morale include perceived poor leadership, limited opportunity for rotation of units out of combat, very heavy casualties, combat stress, continued poor logistics, and problems with pay.”

Months later, the MoD reiterated a similar message on Ukrainian Independence day on Wednesday.

It described Russia’s “failed” offensive, and how they “reverted to more modest objectives” in the east and south.

It added: “The Donbas offensive is making minimal progress and Russia anticipates a major Ukrainian counterattack.

“Morale is poor in many parts of its military and its army is significantly degraded.

“Its diplomatic power has been diminished and its long-term economic outlook is bleak.

“Six months in and Russia’s war has proven both costly and strategically harmful.”

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