US Officials: Russia will need a decade to rebuild military after Ukraine war
May 6, 2023

US intelligence officials have told a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing that Russia’s military could take up to a decade to recover from the war with Ukraine. The officials said that the Russian military has become so degraded in just 14 months of fighting that it would take years to rebuild its forces.

This estimate comes just 14 months into the conflict, which has seen approximately 200,000 Russian forces killed or wounded since the war began on February 24, 2022. This is roughly the same number of troops that Russian President Vladimir Putin dispatched into Ukraine at the start of the war, expecting that it would be sufficient to seize Kyiv and destabilize its democratically elected government.

Defense Intelligence Agency director Lt. Gen. Scott D. Berrier explained that the reorganization of the Russian military in the early 2000s to be better, faster, and smaller is largely gone. He added that they are now relying on reserve troops and equipment from the Soviet era.

The estimated timeline for Russia to rebuild its military ranges from five to 10 years, depending on how sanctions affect them and their ability to put technology back into their force.

Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines told the committee that Russia is unlikely to mount a significant offensive operation this year. She also warned that Russia needs to initiate a mandatory mobilization of troops and secure substantial third-party ammunition supplies from Iran and other countries to sustain even modest offensive operations.

According to Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines, Putin’s immediate ambitions have likely scaled back to consolidating control of the occupied territory in eastern and southern Ukraine and ensuring that Ukraine will never become a NATO ally. However, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy wants to return more of Ukraine’s territory, including Crimea, which was annexed by Moscow in 2014.

Putin’s ground forces and conventional weapons struggle could force Putin to halt his offensive and come to the negotiation table, but Moscow’s other services, including its nuclear arsenal, remain intact. Russia is expected to rely increasingly more on other options, such as nuclear, cyber, and space capabilities.

Overall, US intelligence officials believe that Russia will be less capable of posing a conventional military threat to Europe and operating assertively in Eurasia and on the global stage.

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