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More than a quarter of Russia’s army in Ukraine now ‘combat ineffective,’ UK says

More than a quarter of troops that Russia sent to fight in Ukraine are now believed to be “combat ineffective,” the United Kingdom announced Monday. 

The startling statistic comes as Russia’s bloody invasion of Ukraine is in its 68th day. Prior to the assault from Vladimir Putin’s army, it was estimated that Moscow assembled around 150,000 soldiers to participate in the war. 

“At the start of the conflict, Russia committed over 120 battalion tactical groups, approximately 65 percent of its entire ground combat strength,” the U.K. Ministry of Defence said in a tweet. “It is likely that more than a quarter of these units have now been rendered combat ineffective.” 

A Russian military convoy stands on the road toward the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station in southeastern Ukraine on Sunday, May 1. 

A Russian military convoy stands on the road toward the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station in southeastern Ukraine on Sunday, May 1. 
(AP)

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“Some of Russia’s most elite units, including the VDV Airborne Forces, have suffered the highest levels of attrition,” the Ministry also said. “It will probably take years for Russia to reconstitute these forces.” 

Combat ineffectiveness is the ability for a military unit to carry out its assigned duties, and is impacted by troop and equipment losses, according to the Associated Press. 

A destroyed tank and a damaged apartment building from heavy fighting are seen in an area controlled by Russian-backed separatist forces in Mariupol, Ukraine, on Tuesday, April 26.

A destroyed tank and a damaged apartment building from heavy fighting are seen in an area controlled by Russian-backed separatist forces in Mariupol, Ukraine, on Tuesday, April 26.
(AP/Alexei Alexandrov)

As of Monday, Ukraine’s military claims that Russia has lost nearly 24,000 soldiers, more than 1,000 tanks, and around 500 artillery systems so far in the war. 

The figures could not be independently verified. 

A Russian self-propelled artillery vehicle and military vehicles roll along Tverskaya street toward Red Square during a rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade in Moscow, Russia, on Thursday, April 28.

A Russian self-propelled artillery vehicle and military vehicles roll along Tverskaya street toward Red Square during a rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade in Moscow, Russia, on Thursday, April 28.
(AP)

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Of those troops still fighting, they are continuing to “conduct full-scale armed aggression against Ukraine and offensive operations” in the eastern part of the country, the military added. 

“The threat of missile strikes on military and civilian infrastructure from the territory of the Republic of Belarus by the Russian enemy remains,” it also said. 

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