Gen. Christopher Cavoli, the commander of US European Command, told Congress on Wednesday that Russia’s ground forces are “bigger today” than they were before Moscow launched its invasion of Ukraine last year.
“[T]he Russian ground force has been degenerated somewhat by this conflict, although it is bigger today than it was at the beginning of the conflict,” Cavoli told the House Armed Services Committee.
Last fall, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the mobilization of 300,000 fresh troops and has yet to use them for a major offensive. The heaviest fighting in Ukraine has been taking place in the eastern Donbas city of Bakhmut, but the Wagner Group, a private mercenary force, has been doing much of the fighting.
Cavoli also said Russia’s air force and navy haven’t taken many losses. “The Air Force has lost very little, they’ve lost 80 planes. They have another 1,000 fighters and fighter bombers. The navy has lost one ship,” he said.
Cavoli’s comments are the latest sign that the US doesn’t have much confidence in Ukraine’s chances to turn the tide in the war. Leaked Pentagon documents allegedly released by Jack Teixeira revealed the US doesn’t think Ukraine can regain much territory in its counteroffensive.
The US position was reaffirmed by a recent report from POLITICO that said the Biden administration is preparing for the possibility that the Ukrainian counteroffensive fails.