White House Declassifies Intel On Massive Russian Losses As Zelenskyy Pleads For More Aid

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Micaela Burrow Investigative Reporter, Defense
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Russia has lost nearly 90% of its original troop strength since invading Ukraine in February 2022, a U.S. intelligence report, declassified as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visits Washington to plead for additional military aid, assessed, the White House said.

Moscow’s hope with a massive, costly push into eastern Ukraine throughout the fall and early winter was to spark distrust of Ukraine’s abilities among its western allies and erode their support for the defending nation, Adrienne Watson, a spokeswoman for the National Security Council, told the Daily Caller News Foundation. Russia has lost up to 315,000 troops killed, wounded or missing in Ukraine since the start of the war and loads of equipment, according to a newly declassified intelligence assessment said.

“Russia’s attempt at offensive has resulted in no strategic gains – and come at a severe cost,” Watson told the DCNF. (RELATED: Ukraine Is Running Out Of Men To Fight Against Russia)

Russia began the war with 360,000 forces, and Moscow has conducted mobilizations and sent convicts to the front lines to compensate for the staggering losses, according to The New York Times. In addition, Russia has lost 2,200 tanks after starting the war with 3,500, Watson said, and Russia has resorted to pulling 50-year-old T-62 tanks out of retirement.

The U.S. intelligence community believes losses forced Russia to commit less sophisticated equipment and more inexperienced troops to the front, combining to reduce the complexity of Russian military operations on the front, according to the NYT.

“As of late November, Russia had lost over a quarter of its pre-2022 stockpile of ground forces equipment and has suffered casualties among its trained professional army,” the declassified assessment said, according to the NYT.

While engaged in attritional fighting with Ukrainian troops in places like Avdiivka since October, the Russian army has suffered 13,000 men killed or wounded and the loss of 220 combat vehicles, Watson said, citing the assessment.

Ukraine does not disclose casualty numbers. U.S. officials say they are not as high as Russia’s, according to the NYT.

The Biden administration disclosed the assessment as Zelenskyy met with Senate leaders and House Speaker Mike Johnson to seek their backing for $60 billion in security assistance the White House requested for coming next year.

A few Republicans are skeptical that billions in additional U.S. weapons and training can have a worthwhile effect on the battlefield, the NYT reported. Ukraine’s vaunted summer counteroffensive, intended to retake vast swaths of territory from Russia, petered out with marginal gains, despite U.S. support.

Meanwhile, Democrats are reluctant to back funding for border security in exchange for more GOP support for Ukraine aid.

Moscow “seems to believe that a military deadlock through the winter will drain Western support for Ukraine and ultimately give Russia the advantage despite Russian losses and persistent shortages of trained personnel, munitions, and equipment,” the intelligence assessment stated, Watson told the DCNF.

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