One leaked report indicated that it was impossible to withdraw two thirds of a specific unit from the battlefield in order to recover their combat readiness because the third that would remain would not be able to hold down the fort. At the same time, recruitment efforts to bring in reinforcements have been proceeding very slowly.
Other reports indicate that the morale and psychological conditions of some units on the front lines are dire, leaving Ukraine with forces that are in critical condition and unable to fight properly, raising the chances that the whole front line could fall.
Geopolitical analyst Pepe Escobar wrote: “A Perfect Storm of dwindling financing, weaponizing and Western ‘support’ has darkened Kiev’s horizon, while serial Ukrainian disasters on the ground are so obvious they are even being picked up by Western mainstream media. This ain’t no 'stalemate'."
This week, Russian forces reported inflicting heavy losses on Ukraine troops who crossed the Dnieper River into the eastern bank. While Russian forces there were outnumbered at first, they have brought in reinforcements and vowed to inflict “hell” on the Ukrainian units.
Russia is reportedly now attacking the units trying to defend positions in the east bank, particularly the village of Krynky.
A Russian-installed governor for the occupied Kherson region, Vladimir Saldo, announced: “In Krynky, our military is now destroying the enemy on the largest scale.”
He added that the level of unpreparedness on the part of Ukraine was shocking, noting that Russian forces were “surprised at how much the Ukrainian command does not value the lives of its personnel, sending them to their death in dozens and hundreds.”
He also claimed they had Ukrainian forces blocked in Krynky, where they would face a “fiery hell.” He said: “Bombs, missiles, ammunition from heavy flamethrower systems, artillery shells and drones are flying at [Ukrainian forces] ... Over the last two or three days alone, the enemy’s total losses amounted to about a hundred militants.”
An expert on Ukraine and senior fellow with Washington-based think tank the Atlantic Council, Melinda Haring, recently told Business Insider that the situation is taking a toll on frontline soldiers. After a recent trip to Zaporizhzhia, she reported morale is low. While soldiers at first are “flinty and steely and determined,” she said that after talking with them for a bit, they reveal their frustration.
One of the biggest hardships is that most of them have been unable to see their families much as they only get 30 days off per year and can take no more than 10 days off at a time. Many have barely seen their families since February of 2022. Meanwhile, many feel there is not a lot of support from the rest of the country for those who are putting their lives on the line for the greater good.
She said: "That's a common feeling. There's a lot of stories of divorce, and of family separation, and also depression. And a lot of PTSD."
She also reported that many frontline soldiers felt that Ukraine’s allies want them to fight in a way they wouldn’t expect of their own soldiers. "When I was talking to soldiers on the front lines, they did say, overall, the mood was one of determination, but also: 'We can't keep doing this without air power. You can't ask us to do this. You can't ask us to fight in a way you wouldn't fight yourself.' They're very eager to have air cover."
So far, around 70,000 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed in the fighting, with 120,000 injured.
Sources for this article include: