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In its latest intelligence update, the Defense Ministry said Russia and Ukraine continued to conduct heavy artillery bombardments in the north, east and south of the Sieverodonetsk pocket, but with little change on the front line.
He added: “Combat units from both sides are engaged in intense fighting in the Donbass and are likely experiencing variable morale.
“Ukrainian forces have likely suffered desertions in recent weeks, however, Russian morale most likely remains particularly troubled. Instances of entire Russian units refusing orders and armed clashes between officers and their troops continue to occur. “
The statement went on to say that Russian authorities would likely find it difficult to exert legal pressure on military dissidents as they are embarrassed by the official status of the invasion as a “special military operation” rather than a war.
He added: “Drivers of low Russian morale include perceived poor leadership, limited opportunities for non-combat unit rotation, very heavy casualties, combat stress, continued poor logistics and pay issues.
“Many Russian servicemen of all ranks also likely remain confused about the aims of the war. The morale problems in the Russian forces are likely so significant that they limit Russia’s ability to achieve its operational goals.”