The Russian top military leadership could be suffering from internal conflict as its losses in the war continue to mount, according to a Ukrainian intelligence report.
In February of this year, Russian President Vladimir Putin awarded Eastern Military District commander Rustam Muradov with the rank of colonel general for the “successes” of the 155th Marine Brigade in Vuhledar in Donetsk Oblast.
The conflict, however, began when Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu demanded that the brigade take the city at any cost — an order that the leadership of the 155th brigade refused to carry out, as per an intelligence report from the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (UAF).
“A conflict is brewing in the top military leadership of the Russian Federation due to significant losses and the lack of real achievements at the front. In February of this year, Putin awarded the commander of the Eastern Military District, Muradov, the rank of colonel general for a report on the “successes” of the 155th Marine Brigade in the Vugledar axis. Now the Russian Ministry of Defense Shoigu demands that the general work out his rank and take the city at any cost,” the intelligence report, published on Facebook on Sunday, read.
“According to the available information, the leadership of the 155th brigade and the servicemen refuse to go on a senseless offensive again, in which the incompetent leadership sends them – to storm the well-fortified positions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine without any support and preparation,” the UAF General Staff added.
Last month, Russian news agency 7×7, citing one of the survivors, reported that between 80% and 90% of mobilized soldiers in the 155th naval infantry were killed in combat while storming Vuhledar. In addition, the report also said that other members of the brigade were captured, leaving only eight survivors who were considered deserters.
Oleksiy Dmytrashkivskyi, head of the united press center of the Tavriskiy District of Ukrainian defense forces, shared a similar account to POLITICO and added that the brigade lost between 150 and 300 marines a day in the battle near Vuhledar, on top of “130 units of equipment, including 36 units of tanks.”
The 155th brigade had already restaffed thrice since the war began last year, including once in Irpin and another in Bucha.