The US sees “anecdotal reports” of Russian troops and “mid-grade officers at various levels, even up to the battalion level” refusing to obey orders to move forward in the new Donbas offensive in Ukraine, according to a senior US defense official.
The official said these officers “have either refused to obey orders or are not obeying them with the same measure of alacrity that you would expect an officer to obey.”
Russian forces have struggled with widespread morale problems since the beginning of the invasion, according to this official, which is just one of numerous problems that has plagued the Russian military during this war.
Russian forces are also still facing logistics issues that are slowing their progress, according to the official.
There are 97 operational battalion tactical groups (BTGs) of Russian forces in Ukraine right now, up from 92 BTGs assessed on April 28, the official told reporters on Monday. This is an increase of five BTGs in 11 days.
"It’s not unusual for them to move a BTG or two out of the Donbas back into Russia for re-fit or re-supply and then move them back in, that’s normal," the official said. But overall, "they've added about five BTGs to Ukraine, and all of those BTGs are either in the east or in the south" of Ukraine, the official said.