The number of Russian troops fell for the first time below 90% of the 150,000 they had amassed on the Ukrainian border before the invasion, a senior US defense official said on Tuesday.
Russian forces are struggling with communication, logistics and fuel, the official said, while some troops were evacuated after suffering frostbite because they lacked proper cold weather gear.
The Russian and Ukrainian military are engaged in heavy fighting, especially near Mariupol, a strategically located port city that Russia is currently bombarding from the Sea of Azov, according to the official.
However, Ukrainian forces are pushing to retake territory in some places, including in the south near Kherson, the Pentagon said on Tuesday.
“We’ve seen indications that the Ukrainians are a bit more offensive now,” Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said.
According to a March 22 report from the Institute for the Study of Warfare, Russian forces are likely moving into a “prolonged shelling phase” of Ukrainian cities due to the failure of their initial campaign to encircle and secure themselves. seize kyiv and other major cities.
The ISW also said in its report that the head of Ukraine’s armed forces clarified for the first time on Tuesday that Russian forces were “suffering casualties due to poor medical supply system and lack of medicine.” In addition, the military leader also claimed that some unspecified Russian units “have food and ammunition stocks for no more than three days,” according to the ISW.
US assessments could not be independently verified.