Esta matéria da Der Spiegel começa antecipando o 9 de Maio, o grande da vitória russa contra o nazifascismo. Mas a parada será um pouco melancólica, imagino...
With the invasion of Ukraine, though, that facade has collapsed and bizarre shortcomings have come to light. Just this week, a secretly recorded conversation emerged in which contract soldiers from the Caucasus detailed all that had gone wrong for them. The men returned home on their own in late March to South Ossetia, a de facto Russian-controlled area on Georgian territory. In a conversation with the region's president, they complained of armored personnel carriers that wouldn't start, tanks that refused to fire, officers who hide from their soldiers out of fear, artillery that missed targets by two kilometers and wounded soldiers who weren't provided with treatment. They also lamented a lack of information, maps and radios and of grenade launchers they said were bent. South Ossetia's president rebuked the men and asked if they thought Russia would lose the war. "Yes, we do," came the reply.
Moscow prefers to keep silent about the number of Russians who have actually been killed in Ukraine. The latest official figures are about a month and a half old. In April, the British government said it estimated 15,000 soldiers had been killed, whereas the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces cites nearly 25,000 fallen. One military analyst in Brussels estimates that the Russians have lost close to 1,000 tanks. At least seven Russian generals have been killed. The flagship of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, the guided missile cruiser Moskva sank, apparently after being fired upon by anti-ship missiles.
The first days of the invasion, in particular, when the Russian army advanced on the Ukrainian capital, baffled Western analysts. "The strategic mistakes are completely crazy," John Spencer, an expert on urban warfare at the Madison Policy Forum think tank, told DER SPIEGEL at the time. Many observers now agree that the strength of the Russian military has been overestimated.
One of the most visible weaknesses is logistics. Overstretched, poorly secured supply routes turned into easy targets for small, mobile Ukrainian units, especially in the early weeks of the war. Just a few days after the war began, a U.S. official said that 70 percent of Russian forces would soon run out of fuel and food, or had already.
Glaring failures have also emerged in equipment maintenance – a result of sloppiness or corruption: Expensive air defense systems are getting stuck because their tires are defective, some missile launchers still have tires with "Made in the USSR" labels on them. "Their logistics have been disastrous throughout," says military historian Phillips O'Brien. "They just assumed they would steamroll the Ukrainians and they wouldn't have to worry about supply." Since Russia began concentrating its attacks on the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine, these massive logistics problems have been less frequent, in part due to the fact that supply routes are shorter and the advance has faltered.