Russian forces invading Ukraine are suffering low morale that could affect the outcome of the battle there, Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby said.
Washington, March 23, 2022.- Reports out of Ukraine indicate a breakdown in some units stemming from logistics and sustainment issues, he said during a Pentagon news conference yesterday.
«We continue to see indications that the Russians did not properly plan for logistics and sustainment,» Kirby said. «We know that they continue to have fuel issues across their force, and that they’re still struggling with food.»
He noted that there is footage of Russian troops ransacking grocery stores in Ukraine. The Russians «either didn’t properly plan for logistics and sustainment or they didn’t properly execute to their plan, but they are still having problems,» he said.
Earlier in the day, a DOD official said on background that Russian forces in Ukraine are suffering cases of frostbite, which any U.S. military leader will say is a symbol of a breakdown in unit morale and unit cohesion.
«You know how important morale is to military effectiveness and cohesion,» Kirby said to the reporters. «We certainly have indications that morale is a growing problem inside the Russian forces that are fighting in Ukraine. We’ve seen increasing indications that morale and unit cohesion is a problem and yes, absolutely translates into potential military effectiveness issues.»
Ukrainian resistance exacerbates the Russian problems. Kirby said there are indications that Ukrainian forces are retaking some territory the Russians initially took.
Russian leaders must be growing frustrated with the lack of progress of the invasion, the press secretary said. After 27 days, Russian forces have expended a lot of munitions, and thrown a lot of forces into the fight. Still, Russian President Vladimir Putin built up a significant amount of combat capability before launching this unnecessary war, Kirby said.
«Here it is day 27, and they haven’t taken Kyiv. They haven’t taken Kharkiv, and they haven’t been able to isolate the Donbass area,» Kirby said. «The Ukrainians are fighting back very creatively and very bravely.»
The Russians have not achieved any of the strategic objectives they set out to achieve.
Kirby once again called on the Russian leader to end his «war of choice» with Ukraine. «He can end this war today by being a negotiator of good faith with the Ukrainians,» he said. «There’s no indication he’s willing to do that.»