May 20, 2024
Russian soldiers who recently reached the front lines of the war in Ukraine did not have fighting experience or training, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his Monday night address.

Russian soldiers who recently reached the front lines of the war in Ukraine did not have fighting experience or training, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his Monday night address.

The comment comes a couple of weeks after Russian President Vladimir Putin mobilized roughly 300,000 reservist forces to supplement their ranks, which have been decimated throughout seven months of war.

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“Among the dead occupiers, we can already see those who were taken just a week or two ago,” the Ukrainian leader said. “People were not trained for combat. They have no experience to fight in such a war. But the Russian command just needs some people, any kind, to replace the dead. And when these new ones die, more people will be sent. This is how Russia fights. That’s how it will lose as well.”

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said more than 200,000 of the roughly 300,000 reservists that Putin called up in late September have already joined their forces, Russian state outlet RIA Novosti reported Tuesday.

Ukraine retook full control of the key eastern city of Lyman over the weekend, handing Russia another setback as the country forges ahead with annexing Ukrainian territory.

Lyman is in the Donetsk region, which along with its neighboring Luhansk district, is part of an eastern region of Ukraine known as the Donbas. The Russians have used the strategically important area as a logistics hub for their forces.

Putin pushed ahead with annexing the Donbas and the southern regions of Zaporizhzhia and Kherson last week, though the grip on these territories differs.

“After Russian forces ceded that territory, it’s our assessment that many of these Russian forces have moved back toward Kreminna, which is east of Lyman, and are likely prioritizing that location to hold the line and robust further Ukrainian advances,” a senior U.S. military official told reporters on Monday, calling the liberation of Lyman a “significant operational accomplishment.”

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“We have not seen a large-scale reinforcement of forces at this stage. In terms of whether or not any of the newly mobilized forces have moved into Ukraine, all I would say at this stage is not in a large scale,” the official added.

Also on Tuesday, Russia’s Federation Council, the upper house of the country’s parliament, unanimously approved constitutional laws in favor of annexing the Ukrainian territories in violation of international law, according to Russian state media outlet TASS.

In recent weeks, Putin has continued to threaten to use nuclear weapons on the battlefield in Ukraine, though the military official said the United States has “seen nothing to compel us to change our [nuclear] posture.”

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