Russia-Ukraine war live: Moscow struggling to train conscripts as officers and trainers either on front line or killed, says UK | Ukraine


Russia stuggling to train 300,000 conscripts as experienced officers and trainers already killed, says UK

The 300,000 troops Putin conscripted as part of the mobilisation drive are providing “little additional offensive combat capability” as the Russian military is struggling to train them, UK intelligence has reported.

In its daily briefing, the UK Ministry of Defence said troops are being deployed with “little or no training”.

This is partly due to a shortage of munitions and facilities and partly because many experienced officers and trainers are fighting in Ukraine, with many likely already dead, the MoD added.

It said:

The Russian armed forces were already stretched providing training for the approximate 300,000 troops required for its ‘partial mobilisation’, announced on 21 September 2022.

These issues will be compounded by the additional regular autumn annual conscription cycle, announced on 30 September 2022 and starting 01 November 2022, which is usually expected to bring in an additional 120,000 personnel.

Newly mobilised conscripts likely have minimal training or no training at all. Experienced officers and trainers have been deployed to fight in Ukraine and some have likely been killed in the conflict.

Russian forces are conducting training in Belarus due to a shortage of training staff, munitions and facilities in Russia. Deploying forces with little or no training provides little additional offensive combat capability.

Key events

The Ukrainian foreign ministry has claimed its forces have killed another 600 Russian soldiers in the last 24 hours.

The figures have been released as part of its daily preliminary update of battlefield totals. The Guardian has not been able to verify them, and they differ from those provided by Russia.

The latest update includes another 12 drones Ukraine has shot down, bringing the total to 1,462. Its army has killed about 75,440 soldiers, up from 74,840.

The UK ministry of defence has released a promotional video showing British troops training Ukrainian recruits for battle in their home country.

It includes an interview with a Ukrainian woman who is working as an interpreter between the two sets of soldiers, and a troop commander.

Ukrainians from all walks of life will spend today taking part in training programmes across the UK, learning the skills needed to defend their country and one day return to their normal lives.

🎥 Meet those proud to train them👇#WeStandWithUkrainepic.twitter.com/ukLbYQhaSi

— Ministry of Defence 🇬🇧 (@DefenceHQ) November 5, 2022

Turkey will not formally approve Finland and Sweden’s membership of Nato until the two countries take the necessary “steps”, the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has told the head of the alliance, Jens Stoltenberg.

Agence France-Presse reported on Friday:

President Erdogan noted that the steps to be taken by Sweden and Finland would determine how fast the approval process … would go and when it would be concluded.

Ankara has accused the two Nordic nations of providing a safe haven for outlawed Kurdish militants it deems “terrorists” and held back on ratifying their Nato membership despite an agreement in June.

Erdogan and Stoltenberg held a private meeting in Istanbul on Friday that was closed to the media.

Finland and Sweden dropped decades of military non-alignment and moved in May to become Nato members, after Russia invaded Ukraine. Erdogan threatened to block their bids and sought concessions, leading to a deal in June between Turkey, Finland and Sweden that included provisions on extraditions and sharing information.

Sweden’s new prime minister, Ulf Kristersson, is to visit Ankara on Tuesday to meet with Erdogan in a trip Stockholm hopes will lead to Turkey’s approval.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Jens Stoltenberg  stand side by side during their meeting in Istanbul on Friday
Recep Tayyip Erdogan (left) and Jens Stoltenberg during their meeting in Istanbul on Friday. Photograph: Turkish president press office/EPA

At least 112,000 Russians have emigrated to Georgia this year, border crossing statistics show.

Reuters reported that the first large wave of 43,000 arrived after Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February and president Vladimir Putin moved to quash opposition to the war at home, according to Georgia’s government. The second wave came after Putin announced the nationwide mobilisation drive in late September.

Georgia’s economic boom has confounded many experts who saw dire consequences from the war for the ex-Soviet republic, whose economic fortunes are closely tied to its larger neighbour through exports and tourism.

Dimitar Bogov, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development’s lead economist for eastern Europe and the Caucasus, said:

Despite all expectations that we had … that this war on Ukraine will have significant negative implications on the Georgian economy, so far we don’t see materialisation of these risks. On the contrary, we see the Georgian economy growing quite well this year – double digits.

But the stellar growth is not benefiting everyone, with the arrival of tens of thousands of Russians – many cashed-up tech professionals – driving up prices and squeezing some Georgians out of parts of the economy such as the housing rental market and education.

Business leaders also worry that the country could face a hard landing should the war end and Russians return home.

Cars queue for the Verkhni Lars customs checkpoint between Georgia and Russia, about 200km from Tbilisi, in late September
The Georgian side of the Verkhni Lars checkpoint between Georgia and Russia, about 200km from Tbilisi, in late September as Russian authorities acknowledged an influx of cars trying to cross from Russia to Georgia. Photograph: Vano Shlamov/AFP/Getty Images

Russia stuggling to train 300,000 conscripts as experienced officers and trainers already killed, says UK

The 300,000 troops Putin conscripted as part of the mobilisation drive are providing “little additional offensive combat capability” as the Russian military is struggling to train them, UK intelligence has reported.

In its daily briefing, the UK Ministry of Defence said troops are being deployed with “little or no training”.

This is partly due to a shortage of munitions and facilities and partly because many experienced officers and trainers are fighting in Ukraine, with many likely already dead, the MoD added.

It said:

The Russian armed forces were already stretched providing training for the approximate 300,000 troops required for its ‘partial mobilisation’, announced on 21 September 2022.

These issues will be compounded by the additional regular autumn annual conscription cycle, announced on 30 September 2022 and starting 01 November 2022, which is usually expected to bring in an additional 120,000 personnel.

Newly mobilised conscripts likely have minimal training or no training at all. Experienced officers and trainers have been deployed to fight in Ukraine and some have likely been killed in the conflict.

Russian forces are conducting training in Belarus due to a shortage of training staff, munitions and facilities in Russia. Deploying forces with little or no training provides little additional offensive combat capability.

Ukrainian forces using captured weapons fired at Russian targets near the key eastern city of Bakhmut on Friday as fighting dragged on in an area that Moscow is trying hard to capture.

Reuters reported that Russian forces have repeatedly launched attacks against Bakhmut and nearby Avdiivka in the Donetsk region in the east but are being pushed back with what Kyiv says are heavy losses.

“Last week there was very intense fighting … there are a lot of them [Russians], both people and equipment,” said a soldier who gave his name only as Moriak, the Ukrainian word for sailor.

Reuters journalists saw a captured Russian T-80 tank and a 2S23 Nona SVK self-propelled mortar, now controlled by Ukrainian crews, firing at targets outside Bakhmut.

Ukraine’s military says both were seized in March and took months to be refitted. The eight-wheel Nona – commanded by Moriak – has a 120mm mortar capable of firing a maximum of 10 rounds a minute.

They left us this gift, and it has high, very high [precision], and it now works against them, it helps us push them away.

Bakhmut has been an important target for Russia’s armed forces in a slow advance through the Donetsk region since Russia took the industrial towns of Lysychansk and Sievierodonetsk in June and July.

Ukrainian forces fire from a self-propelled howitzers toward Russian positions near Bakhmut, eastern Ukraine
Ukrainian forces fire from a self-propelled howitzer towards Russian positions near Bakhmut, eastern Ukraine, on Tuesday. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Washington accuses Moscow of trying to ‘freeze’ Ukraine into submission

The United States has accused the Russia of wanting to “freeze” Ukraine into submission since it has failed to win on the battlefield.

Russia has repeatedly attacked Ukrainian energy infrastructure with missiles and explosive drones while Kyiv’s forces have advanced against Moscow’s troops in the country’s east and south.

Agence France-Presse also reported that the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, said on Thursday that Russia’s campaign against Ukraine’s energy network had left about 4.5 million people without power.

The US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, said on Friday after G7 foreign ministers met in Germany:

President Putin seems to have decided that if he can’t seize Ukraine by force, he will try to freeze it into submission.

Antony Blinken gestures as he talks to reporters after the G7 summit in Muenster, Germany
Antony Blinken after the G7 summit in Muenster, Germany. Photograph: Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

The top diplomats from the world’s wealthiest nations agreed on a structure to funnel aid to Ukraine to replace infrastructure targeted by Russia after holding two days of talks in the German city of Muenster.

The US is also examining options to address the damage.

President Joe Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, met Zelensky in Kyiv on Friday to reaffirm US support to Ukraine.

Sullivan told a press conference in Kyiv that Ukraine had an “acute need for air defence in this critical moment”.

The Pentagon announced it would fund the refurbishment of T-72 tanks and Hawk surface-to-air missiles as part of a $400m security assistance package for Ukraine, bringing its total security aid to more than $18.2bn since February’s invasion.

Summary

Hello and welcome back to the Guardian’s continuing live coverage of the war in Ukraine. Here’s a rundown on the latest developments as it just passes 9am in the capital, Kyiv.

  • Vladimir Putin has said civilians still living in the Russian-annexed province of Kherson must be “evacuated” from the conflict zone, amid suggestions Russian forces may be preparing to abandon the west bank of the Dnipro river. The Russian president’s comments came amid mounting speculation that Moscow would attempt to hold the city of Kherson itself – the largest urban area under Russian occupation – at any cost.

  • A 24-hour curfew has been imposed in Kherson city, which makes up part of the Ukrainian province Russia annexed in September.

  • Nato has released footage of its latest nuclear exercise over north-western Europe, with the majority of its exercises being held at least 1,000km from Russia’s borders, over Belgium, the North Sea and the UK.

  • Russia wants the west to ease restrictions on state agriculture lender Rosselkhozbank to facilitate Russian grain exports, according to four sources familiar with the request.

  • Xi Jinping and Olaf Scholz have condemned Russia’s threat to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine, with both leaders expressing their desire for the conflict to end. The Chinese president stressed the need for greater cooperation between China and Germany in “times of change and turmoil”, while the German chancellor said Moscow was in danger of “crossing a line” if it used atomic weapons, in what was his first meeting with Xi.

  • The US announced $400m worth of additional security assistance for Ukraine, including refurbishing T-72 tanks from the Czech Republic and missiles for Hawk air defences that could be used against Russian drones and cruise missiles. The package brought US military aid for Kyiv to more than $18.2bn since Russia’s invasion in February.

  • The US talkshow host David Letterman has travelled to Kyiv to interview Volodymyr Zelenskiy. Netflix made the announcement on Twitter, saying the Ukrainian president will appear in a coming episode of My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman.

  • Ukraine’s state postal service has issued a commemorative wartime stamp dedicated to the strike on the Crimean Bridge last month which sparked celebrations across the country.

  • Rishi Sunak, the British prime minister, and his Polish counterpart, Mateusz Morawiecki, discussed the situation in Belarus and agreed the need to keep sending a strong message to Russia that intimidation would not work, according to a statement from Sunak’s office.

  • Indian IT services company Infosys, from which the British prime minister’s wife collects £11.5m in annual dividends, is still operating from Moscow eight months after the company said it was pulling out. The company retains a staffed office and is paying subcontractors in the Russian capital to carry out IT services for a global client, although a spokesperson said they were looking to end that arrangement.





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