Russia’s Military ‘Almost Completely Reconstituted’ After Ukraine Losses: US Official

Russia has “almost completely” reformed its military capabilities after suffering heavy losses in Ukraine, a senior US official said on Wednesday.

“I think what we’ve seen over the last couple of months is that Russia has almost completely reconstituted itself militarily,” Deputy Secretary of State Kurt Campbell said at a conference hosted by the Center for a New American Security. Campbell co-founded CNAS, a Washington-based think tank.

He said Moscow suffered initial setbacks during the war in Ukraine, but had “reorganized itself and now poses a threat to Ukraine.”

“But not just in Ukraine,” Campbell said. “Its new capabilities pose a long-term challenge to stability in Europe and threaten NATO allies.”

The deputy secretary of state noted that Russia receives industrial and commercial support from China as he spoke as part of a broader debate over security in the Indo-Pacific.

China, the United States’ main rival in the Indo-Pacific region, is also Russia’s largest trading partner, with $240 billion in trade between the two countries last year.

Governments and think tanks have offered differing analyzes of how Russia is revitalizing its hard-hit military. Russia lost around 315,000 troops in the first years of the war, according to British intelligence. It also burned much of its air and support inventory, war analysts say.

Following these losses, Russian leader Vladimir Putin strained his country’s military-industrial complex, focusing its economy on the production of shells, weapons and equipment.

Military vehicles are pictured at a factory of Russian missile maker Almaz-Antey, in St. Petersburg, January 18, 2023.

Military vehicles are pictured at a factory of Russian missile maker Almaz-Antey, in St. Petersburg, January 18, 2023.


Campbell’s remarks appear to be one of the most optimistic Western assessments of the Kremlin’s production effort so far.

In December, the British military released an intelligence update indicating that it would likely take 10 years for Russia to replenish its ground troops with highly trained forces, citing a “transition to a lower-quality mass army and in large quantities “.

And in January, German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said that Russia was building an army capable of attacking NATO, but would likely only achieve such a capability in “five to eight years “.

Lithuania puts this estimate at between five and seven years.

Others say Russia is making steady progress. The Royal United Services Institute, a London-based security think tank, said in February that Moscow had increased its troops in Ukraine from a disorganized force of 360,000 in 2023 to 410,000 better-trained troops. in 2024.

“Although the Russian army’s ambition to increase its troop strength to 1.5 million troops has not been achieved, recruiters are currently meeting nearly 85% of their set training targets. recruiting troops to fight in Ukraine,” the researchers wrote.

The report points out that Russia is also rapidly producing about 1,500 tanks and 3,000 armored vehicles per year, but is unlikely to maintain this capacity because much of this production comes from refurbishing larger vehicles. elders.

The Washington-based Institute for the Study of War said the RUSI report indicated Russia may be able to sustain its heavy losses for another two years.

Meanwhile, Ukraine is suffering from declining U.S. support as congressional leaders block billions in aid — including much-needed munitions and weapons — for domestic political reasons.

Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned that his country’s depleted ammunition stocks were severely handicapping his forces as Russia slowly advances eastward.

House Speaker Mike Johnson, who previously blocked a $60 billion deal for Ukraine, recently proposed a plan to use frozen Russian assets to finance kyiv. It’s still unclear how much congressional support there will be for the plan.

The US State Department and CNAS did not immediately respond to requests for comment sent outside of normal business hours by Business Insider.


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