Putin loses 200,000 troops as he desperately trades bodies for time in Ukraine
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Putin loses 200,000 troops as he desperately trades bodies for time in Ukraine

Oct 10, 2023

VLADIMIR Putin is using a blood-soaked strategy in a desperate bid to outlast the West in Ukraine, top UK ex-military officers have said.

Kremlin kingpin Vlad is trading bodies for time as he funnels more and more soldiers into the meat grinder - with Ukraine claiming to have killed some 200,000 Russians.

Some of Britain's most senior former military officers compared the bloody warzone to the battles of Verdun and the Somme from World War 1 when speaking to The Sun Online.

Putin is now relying on sheer weight of numbers to pile pressure on the motivated, mobile and increasingly well-armed Ukrainians.

And for the Russians - it appears that seemingly expendable manpower is all they have left as they face dwindling supplies of ammo and vehicles.

Vlad's endgame is to use this final resource of human bodies to drag the war out long enough for the West to lose the appetite to continue supporting Ukraine.

General Sir Richard Shirreff described the Russians as relying on "human waves", while General Sir Richard Barrons said Putin's untrained forces are simply being "cut down"

And both agreed this part of Putin's plan to "out-suffer" and "out-tough" both the West and Ukraine.

Some 200,000 deaths would mean that Russia have lost 13,300 soldiers a month, 3,250 troops a week, 450 men a day, 20 every hour, or one every three minutes since he invaded in February.

And while the former top generals cautioned against the staggering Ukrainian figure, they agreed the Russians are suffering from brutal levels of attrition as they send poorly trained and poorly equipped troops to die.

"What the Russians have demonstrated again and again is that they are not interested in their people, they have never cared about the number of casualties," General Shirreff, the former Nato commander of Europe, told The Sun Online.

"They are more than happy to scoop people off the street - give them minimal training - a day if they are lucky - and put them in firing line."

He added: "There is no question there have been incredibly heavy casualties on a scale not seen in Europe since the World War 2

"It is in the Russian DNA, the individual is meaningless - it is the state that matters.

Russian kids are now hunkered down in their trenches in their thousands - or tens of thousands - waiting to die

General Barrons, former commander of the UK joint forces, told The Sun Online: "They are sending in wave after wave after wave of soldiers and they are being cut down.

"There are parallels to World War 1 - they are untrained, handed a weapon and being told to 'go that way'.

"The thing is they don't seem to mind - the military leadership don't mind, and the public through a combination of culture and lack of information seem inured to it."

General Shirreff compared what the Russians are doing on the ground to the Battle of Somme, while General Barrons compared to the Battle of Verdun.

"Putin believes the Ukrainian people will run out of their will to fight and the West will see this as a stalemate and force a settlement," said General Barrons

"This is where Putin thinks he can out-tough the West."

Bloody trench warfare with soldiers running into gunfire across shell-pitted No Man's Lands are not what many expected from a major European war in the 21st Century.

But images from the frontline show that is exactly what many of the battles have become.

"The only thing the Russians have at the moment is manpower," Colonel Hamish de Bretton-Gordon told The Sun Online.

The former British Army tank commander said historically Russia has fought wars using "mass" - playing a "numbers game" to overwhelm or exhaust their enemies.

And this played out in World War 1 and World War 2, with Russia believed to have suffered the highest casualty rates in both wars - with up 2.2million being lost in WW1 and up to 11.4million in WW2.

Russia is now falling back onto these bloody tactics after the destruction of their elite forces early in the war and their dwindling supply of vehicles.

Putin's lack of armour was seen on embarrassing display last week at their Victory Day parade - which featured a single aging tank from the 1940s.

"Russian kids are now hunkered down in their trenches in their thousands - or tens of thousands - waiting to die," Colonel de Bretton-Gordon told The Sun Online.

"It is a crime against humanity - Putin is the modern day Stalin."

And he pointed out if there were such staggering death tolls in the UK, there would be protests in the streets - but the Russian publicare conditioned to absorb such shocking losses.

He went on: "The bottom line is, Putin is trying to elongate this crisis because he knows if he can stretch it another year and hope the West can't sustain its support for Ukraine.

"And the only way he can do that is by pumping in more and more manpower into the meat grinder.

"So we should be giving the Ukrainians absolutely everything, we are at an absolute tipping point now."

President Volodymyr Zelensky was in the UK this week as he went on a whistlestop tour of Europe trying to drum up support and new weapons.

And while he walked away from Chequers with the promise of more long-range drones and missiles, he failed to obtain his dream bit of kit - modern fighter planes.

General Shirreff called for the UK to adopt a "war footing" in terms of military production to support the Ukrainians.

"Putin will never give up destroying Ukraine and rolling it into a second Russian empire," he told The Sun Online.

"The West needs to understand this isn't a war against Ukraine - it is a war against the West and a war against Ukraine becoming part of the West.

"The sooner we adopt the mindset that we have be prepared to fight a war, we have to mobilise our economics and we have to put ourselves on a war footing to support Ukraine, the better."

General Barrons added the long-anticipated Ukrainian counter offensive will not be a big enough blow to end the war - and the West be ready to support Kyv for the long haul.

"We need to show a clear commitment to supporting them, keep Ukrainian morale up, and let Russia know there is no easy way out," he told The Sun Online.

"We need to show unswerving commitment to the political will, the money, and the industrial mobilisation to support Ukraine."

Russia invaded Ukraine last February - claiming it would simply be a "special military operation" which would only last two weeks.

Now tens of thousands of Russians are lying dead in the fields across Ukraine.

And millions of Ukrainian civilians have endured untold misery as the cities have been devastated and their homes stolen.

Putin foolishly believed his forces would be welcomed into Ukraine as liberators.

But instead, the initial attack ended in a disaster which saw his forces devastated and thrown back to Russia.

The world is awaiting to see what Ukraine will achieve in their upcoming counter-offensive - with hopes it could provide key gains across the frontline, especially around Bakhmut.