Friday, 29 Sep 2023

Ukraine forms eight new storm brigades for counterattack

Ukraine forms eight new storm brigades for counterattack


Ukraine forms eight new storm brigades for counterattack

Eight new Ukrainian brigades of soldiers have been formed to take part in a future counteroffensive amid growing speculation about its timing and whether it can succeed in inflicting a serious defeat on the Russian invaders.

The Ukrainian interior ministry said on Tuesday it had "fully formed" the initial "storm" brigades, comprising up to 40,000 troops, but added they would need further training before being ready to take part in fighting.

Ihor Klymenko, the interior minister, said in an interview the troops would be re-equipped and the instruction process would take another two to three weeks before they could be tasked with "appropriate offensive assault operations" alongside the Ukrainian army.

Questions had been raised about how successful the recruitment process had been for the storm force, amid concern that the pool of Ukrainians willing to fight was diminishing as the war reaches the 15-month mark.

Both sides remain engaged in attritional fighting across the eastern front, particularly around Bakhmut, where Ukraine retains a foothold, despite nearly a year of Russian attacks in and around the small industrial city.

On Monday, the US estimated more than 20,000 Russian soldiers had been killed and more than 80,000 injured in just five months of fighting in Ukraine, mostly around Bakhmut, where Moscow's forces have had to fight from building to building.

Russia rejected the claim on Tuesday, saying the figure had been "plucked from thin air", and added that Washington had no way of obtaining the correct data. Battlefield casualties are difficult for third parties to estimate, but the figure gives a broad indication of the intensity of the fighting.

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