Russian forces will soon be down to their last supplies of fuel and unable to transport their troops in Ukraine after the crippling attack on the Kerch Bridge between Crimea and Russia, say analysts.
“If we’re talking about the ability to manoeuvre, ie drive places, I think we are talking days into very short weeks of supply,” intelligence analyst Forbes McKenzie told Sky News.
They will soon be unable to move their troops, say observers, which will put them in huge difficulty if the Ukrainians continue advancing.
Mr McKenzie said: “Can they stand and fight? They could sustain that likely through the winter time but if Ukraine has Russia on the move, ie they are dominating the battle space, pushing them back, forcing the Russians to manoeuvre and there’s no diesel to manoeuvre the armour with, it’s highly likely the armour will be left in place.”
President Vladimir Putin will have hoped his missile onslaught across Ukraine today has projected an image of strength. They are being read in the West as quite the opposite. The act of an increasingly desperate commander running out of options.
Mr Putin today warned that the missile attacks could be repeated if Ukraine carried out more ‘terrorist’ attacks such as that on the Kerch Bridge. But military analysts in the West question his ability to do so.
Long distance precision-guided weapons are expensive to produce and Russia has used up many of its supplies. Russia has also bolstered its arsenal with Iranian-supplied Shaheed drones.
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Moment bridge linking Russia and Crimea explodes
But they too are being depleted. Ukraine has been effective at locating the warehouses where they are being stored and destroying them. Both forms of munitions are finite resources.
The Russian missile attacks follow a series of retreats and defeats by their forces on the ground.
If the Ukrainians are able to move quickly enough and push the Russians back fast enough, they may force them to abandon their armour.
“We could see the Ukrainians stealing their entire armoured capability,” says Mr McKenzie.
That would be a humiliating outcome for President Putin which would pose an existential threat. He cannot afford to look weak or fail in this war.
His military is on the back foot and increasingly threatened by Ukrainian advances and now, say western observers, starved of logistics.
His position is looking increasingly desperate and he is running out of time.