- Britain’s spy chief says Russia may soon “run out of steam” in Ukraine.
- He said it would give Ukraine an opportunity to retaliate against the invading forces.
- Other military and Russian experts have offered similar assessments as the conflict turns into a war of attrition.
The Russian military offensive in Ukraine is likely to lose momentum in the near future, providing Ukrainian forces with an opportunity to “retaliate”, Richard Moore, head of Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), told the Forum on Thursday. the safety of Aspen, Colorado.
“I think they’re about to run out of steam,” Moore said of the Russians. “They’ll have to take a break one way or another, and that will give the Ukrainians a chance to fight back.”
Moore said it was important for Ukrainian morale that they “demonstrate their ability to fight back.”
“I also think, to be honest, it will be an important reminder to the rest of Europe that this is a winnable campaign for the Ukrainians. difficult,” Moore said.
“I don’t want it to sound like a character from ‘Game of Thrones.’ But winter is coming,” said Britain’s spy chief, “And clearly in that atmosphere, with the kind of pressure on gas supplies and everything, we’re going to have a tough time.”
Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine triggered a global energy crisis. Concern over energy supplies is particularly high in Europe, which relies heavily on Russia for oil and gas. But if the West can maintain the political will to continue providing Ukraine with vital military aid to repel the invaders, there appears to be a growing consensus among analysts and Kremlinologists that Russia will eventually find itself at an impasse in terms of the ability to extend and prolong the offensive. .
“The Russians are exhausted,” retired Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, the former commanding general of the US Army in Europe, told Insider recently. “They don’t have much else to do at the moment.”
Hodges suggested that Ukraine could push Russian forces back to its pre-war borders by next year.
After failing to take Kyiv in the early days of the war, Russia turned its attention to Donetsk and Lugansk, the two provinces that make up the eastern region of Donbass. In early July, Russia took control of Luhansk, but the conflict has now turned into a war of attrition, with Russian forces advancing at a breakneck and gradual pace while suffering heavy casualties.
Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters on Wednesday that “Russian advances have amounted to maybe six to 10 miles” over the past few months.
Fiona Hill, who served as the National Security Council’s top Russia expert during the Trump administration, told Insider last week that the Russians had “a lot of problems, and longer term.”
Hill said Russia would struggle both with manpower issues and with maintaining its military equipment.
“The problem becomes maintenance of military equipment and everything in the long term. They’re going to cannibalize the equipment,” Hill said, adding, “We see them going back, not just to the tactics of old, but the equipment of yesteryear, pulling a lot of stuff from the junkyard or cold storage.There is a lot of speculation about how long it will take them to piece together the lost equipment.
Last week, the UK Ministry of Defense said Russia may resort to prison recruitment to deal with troop losses in Ukraine.
Moore said Thursday that Russia has likely lost about 15,000 troops in Ukraine so far since the invasion began about five months ago. But Britain’s spy chief stressed that this was “probably a conservative estimate”.
CIA Director William Burns, who also spoke at the Aspen Security Forum this week, offered a similar assessment of Russia’s death toll. Burns said the latest estimates from the US intelligence community put the number of Russian soldiers killed at around 15,000, with around 45,000 injured.
“And the Ukrainians also suffered – probably a little less than that. But, you know, significant losses,” Burns said.