Putin hit by humiliating blow as elite team struck by ‘heavy losses’, MoD claims

A new division of the Russian airborne forces (VDV) is believed to have suffered “exceptionally heavy losses” and “failed” to have met its target in Ukraine.

The British Ministry of Defence claimed in its latest assessment the 104th Guards Airborne Division (104 GAD) debuted on the Ukrainian battlefield in the partially Russian-occupied region of Kherson.

In November, Ukraine secured several bridgeheads on the eastern bank of the Dnipro River, which has been for months the de-facto southern frontline.

The 104 GAD had likely been tasked to disrupt the positions of the Ukrainian forces across the river – but the UK MoD suggested the mission ended up in a humiliating failure.

The intelligence briefing released on December 14 read: “In early December 2023, the newly-formed 104th Guards Airborne Division of the VDV highly likely suffered exceptionally heavy losses and failed to achieve its objectives during its combat debut in Kherson Oblast.

READ MORE: Putin ‘open to peace’ between Russia and Ukraine as he reveals conditions

“The operation took place after the division joined Russia’s Dnipro Group of Forces and its attempt to dislodge the Ukrainian bridgehead near the village of Krynky on the east bank of the Dnipro.

“104 GAD was reportedly poorly supported by airpower and artillery, while many of the troops were highly likely inexperienced.”

This failure prompted some Russian military bloggers, influential war commentators, to call for the resignation of the Dnipro Group of Forces Commander, Colonel General Mikhail Teplinsky, according to the MoD.

Don’t miss…
Furious Russians turn on Vladimir Putin to join Ukrainian forces[INSIGHT]
EU on brink of self-destruction as Von der Leyen warned of ‘terrible mistake'[REPORT]
Putin shows sign of ‘regret’ in first press conference since start of invasion[EXCLUSIVE]

The assessment added this marked a “blow” to the reputation of the official, normally regarded “as one of the more capable Russian field commanders of the war”.

A fortnight ago, the British Ministry of Defence had already mentioned the new 104 GAD, assessing it was “likely [to] be poorly trained” and not up to the high standards of the elite VDV.

This humiliating defeat in southern Ukraine came as Vladimir Putin answered for four hours questions from Russian citizens and members of the press during an end-of-year event.

  • Support fearless journalism
  • Read The Daily Express online, advert free
  • Get super-fast page loading

The marathon event covered a wide range of topics including the ongoing war – or “special military operation” as the Kremlin continues to call it.

The Russian President, who is seeking to retain power at the presidential election next March, claimed there is no need for a second wave of mobilisation of reservists, alleging there are some 617,000 Russian soldiers currently in Ukraine.

While Russia arguably has the manpower to deploy hundreds of thousands of soldiers, since the invasion began it also lost a huge amount of troops.

According to a classified US intelligence report, 315,000 Russian soldiers have been either killed or wounded since February 2022, a number the report said amounted to almost 90 per cent of Russia’s military personnel at the start of the invasion.

Source: Read Full Article