Russia uses 85% of combat force in Ukraine: senior US Department of Defense official

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A senior U.S. Department of Defense official told Fox News on Friday that Russia uses 85% of its fighting force in Ukraine as the war continues into its fifth month.

“They can’t go on like this forever,” the official said. “They used up a lot of smarter ammunition. Their capabilities are getting dumber.”

A US Department of Defense official assessed that Russia has not only deployed its missile, air force and special operations forces, known as “special forces”, but has also withdrawn troops from other areas near its borders and deployed them around the world.

On guard stands a fighter of the Russian National Guard with the letter Z sewn on, which has become a symbol of the Russian army.

On guard stands a fighter of the Russian National Guard with the letter Z sewn on, which has become a symbol of the Russian army.
(AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

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The official added that the Pentagon estimated that Ukraine exported more than a hundred “valuable” targets when attacking Russian command posts, ammunition depots, air defense facilities, radar and communication centers, and long-range artillery positions.

In addition, Moscow faces daily not only military targets, but also a significant number of casualties.

A senior defense official said “thousands” of lieutenants and captains, “hundreds” of colonels and “many” generals had died in action since the war began.

“The chain of command is still struggling,” the officials added. “They are still not effective for combined arms purposes.”

A Russian soldier stands guard over the Lugansk power plant in the town of Shchastya on April 13, 2022.

A Russian soldier stands guard over the Lugansk power plant in the town of Shchastya on April 13, 2022.
(ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP via Getty Images)

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This week, CIA director William Burns estimated that about 15,000 Russian soldiers have been killed and 45,000 wounded over the past five months.

“A pretty significant set of casualties,” Burns said during Aspen Security Forum. “Ukrainians also suffered, probably a little less. But, you know, significant losses.

Russian forces are reportedly relying on “rolling barrages” — an artillery strategy that bombards large swaths of territory — but that method hasn’t proven particularly effective, a senior Defense Department official told Fox News on Friday.

Russia, which has relied heavily on missile strikes it is believed to fire tens of thousands of artillery shells a day; however, Russian forces have yet to destroy one highly mobile artillery rocket system (HIMARS), which allows Ukraine to effectively launch multiple missiles.

The official said that at some point they would be “lucky” and hit at least one US-supplied system.

Russian army soldiers stand next to their trucks during a rally against the Russian occupation at Svobody Square in Kherson, Ukraine, Monday, March 7, 2022.

Russian army soldiers stand next to their trucks during a rally against the Russian occupation at Svobody Square in Kherson, Ukraine, Monday, March 7, 2022.
(AP Photo/Alexander Cherny)

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Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced this week plans to send four more HIMARS helicopters to assist Ukrainian forces.

Russian troops have largely occupied Ukraine’s eastern regions, but the battle for Donetsk is expected to last “all summer” with Russia making slow gains at the cost of heavy losses.