“Russia using 85% of fighting force in Ukraine …”

“”They can’t keep it up forever,” the official said. “They have expended a lot of smarter munitions. Their capabilities are getting dumber.” 

The U.S. defense official assessed that Russia has not only deployed its missile forces, Air Force and its special operation forces known as “Spetsnaz,” but it has removed troops from other areas near its borders and stationed across the globe. 

A soldier of Russian Rosguardia (National Guard) with an attached letter Z, which has become a symbol of the Russian military, stands guard.

A soldier of Russian Rosguardia (National Guard) with an attached letter Z, which has become a symbol of the Russian military, stands guard. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)


The official added the Pentagon has assessed that Ukraine has taken out more than a hundred “high-value” targets in attacking Russian command posts, ammunition depots, air-defense sites, radar and communications nodes, and long-range artillery positions. 

Additionally, more than just military targets, Moscow is grappling with a substantial number of causalities daily.

The senior defense official said that “thousands” of lieutenants and captains, “hundreds” of colonels, and “many” generals have been killed in the fighting since the war began. 

“The chain of command is still struggling,” the officials added. “They are still not effective at combined arms.””

Commet: There is clearly a division of opinion as to the situation facing the Russians in Ukraine. On the one hand you have the Russians, their IO assets, their recruited agents of influence, and those who just want to be contrary and on the other hand you have opinions of the US IC, the British IC, TTG and me. pl

Russia using 85% of fighting force in Ukraine: senior US defense official | Fox News

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35 Responses to “Russia using 85% of fighting force in Ukraine …”

  1. JamesT says:

    I cannot imagine that Russia will win this military conflict.

    But in hindsight will history view it as clever? (OK – I am reaching here and I am definitely one of those people who just like to be contrary.) I am reminded of how Cortez burned his ships when he reached the New World so his men would know that there would be no going back. It will be very difficult for Putin’s successor to become a US vassal after this conflict has been seared into the memories of the Russian people.

    There are reports that China’s top chipmaker SMIC has successfully advanced its chip manufacturing by two generations and is now exporting 7nm chips. While I am confident that these reports are overblown I am also confident that the Chinese are “coming for us” technologically and economically and having Russia as a captive market will be very good for their chipmakers.

  2. Whitewall says:

    If Moscow is indeed bringing in troops from afar, meaning borders etc, maybe it is time for Chechen and Kazakhistani anti Russian elements to rise up again. Nothing like a multi front war to keep Vlad up at night.

  3. Jake says:

    In the end only the facts will make a difference. What is bothering me is that this same story has been peddled before. And not just once. But Russia planning to hold a referendum in the Donbas on the future of that area in September, according to Bloomberg, signals that they expect to be ready for it by then. The very first estimate of that kind from the Russian side, if the story is true. From what I see, taking my cues from different sources, that doesn’t look like an unlikely estimate for wrapping up the Donbas operation.

    Then there are all kinds of rumors about an offensive operation aimed at Kherson, complete with guesses as to what it would entail. I haven’t added my voice on that subject, yet, because I have no clue whatsoever. I lack almost all the information necessary to come up with a viable plan. If such a plan is at all feasible, given what is left of Ukraine’s military, and seeing claims that the fourth HIMARS has just been killed, which do not come in great quantities, with hardly any spares in NATO countries. The military in my country said that they have ammunition left for three DAYS of war. I read one comment which demanded NATO commitment to make that storming of Kherson happen through sending NATO troops and confront Russia. How? Beyond the level of involvement today, which is pretty sincere if we are to believe that NATO military are already acting in Ukraine, in the firing line, considering the fact that Russia is actively destroying training facilities, storage, and gatherings of high ranking staff discussing logistics like in Vinnytsja.

    In the end, it doesn’t really matter much which side you’re on, since the facts will be the same. My own goal is to find a way to know the outcome before it happens. I learned long ago that people who lie about something in March, April, May and June, will probably be lying in July. Increasingly so if they hide behind ‘senior official’, or something similar. Which triggers my curiosity. Why?

  4. Bill Roche says:

    Pat; I have doubts about the integrity of the US/BR I.C. but I take your and TTG’s opinions to heart and have questions any laymen would. Would you (or TTG) be kind enough to comment.
    1. Is the war in a stalemate right now; Russia unable to advance west and Ukraine unable to push the Russians east.
    2. Much talk about an impending Ukrainian counter offensive. In your opinion does the UKM have the men, mat’l, will, for a counter? Then is there a stalemate.
    3. You’ve been around the block (once or maybe twice?). Will you hazard a guess on what the Balts are thinking if a stalemate goes into the fall.
    4. Is there a serious possibility of White Russia opening up a front on Ukraine’s north.
    I have lots of questions but that’s really enough for now.

    • Pat Lang says:

      Bill Roche
      This is NOT a stalemate. The two sides are pushing their efforts so far that the conclusion will break one way or the other. The Balts are hoping that the conclusion will be bad enough for Russia that they will not wat to try this kiind of thing for a while. With regard to Belorus, I think not.

  5. AK says:

    “The senior defense official said that ‘thousands’ of lieutenants and captains, ‘hundreds’ of colonels, and ‘many’ generals have been killed in the fighting since the war began. (Emphasis mine)”

    If I’m in the ballpark, Russia has ~150k-200k troops in country. However, in a campaign of this size and scope, with this force commitment, would there really be so many colonels in on the action that KIA could number in the hundreds? Assuming a 10% casualty rate for colonels in country (that’s probably high, yes?), that would imply a cohort of colonels and general flag officers in the several thousands. In other words, could this assertion be fairly hyperbolic on the part of the “senior official”?

    According to official USG stats, there were 6,604 KIA in the entire O-class paygrade during the Vietnam war. Is it realistic that Russia has incurred similar losses in a few months, with far fewer troops in country than we had during several years in Vietnam?

    Partly, I’m just generally curious as to casualty rates in this war compared to others, but also I’m always hesistant to buy official IC assessments whole hog from any three-letter agency. Some of the “senior official’s” other assertions seem to be entirely plausible, but this one smacks of spin.

    • Fourth and Long says:

      There’s something to be said for the opinion that these claims are due to the need of the lame UK and US leaders to assert that they are rip-roaring successes because – see, look at all the evil Rooskies being killed by us noble, skillful protectors of western civilization. Why? Because their societies are coming apart at the seams for everyone but a miniscule percentage of the inhabitants.

    • Leith says:

      AK –

      Ukrainian estimates of RU officers killed are somewhat less than the US or UK estimates. They are close but definitely lower:

      920 total as compared to “thousands”. 91 Colonels if you include Lieutenant Colonels as compared to “hundreds”.


      Who would know best? Hard to say IMO.

  6. Fred says:


    What are your thoughts on Zelinsky firing his intel chief and other senior members of his government?

    “Zelenskyy’s weekend firings of his top prosecutor, intelligence chief and other senior officials have resurfaced those concerns and may have inadvertently given fresh attention to allegations of high-level corruption in Kyiv made by one outspoken U.S. lawmaker.”

    • Pat Lang says:

      i don’t know what to think of it.

      • Steve says:

        Not much new in that NPR report. Zelensky has been carrying out society-wide purges since declaring martial law in February, eliminating opposition (people calling for negotiations), seizing assets, and selling out the country to Neo-liberal corporate carpetbaggers.

      • Ken52 says:

        I can’t see this as a healthy sign of the strength of the Ukrainian government. In my mind it shows extreme infighting among the elite that wouldn’t be present if their war effort was going well.

        • Mark Logan says:


          Can’t put that much on it myself. No idea what really is going down but in the case of the SBU head Bakanov it seems he had zero LE or intelligence experience, he was just a childhood friend and co-producer involved in Zelensky’s show business career.

          “Not a wartime consigliere.”

  7. walrus says:

    There is a good reason for American, British and European Administration to talk up the prospect of an eventual Ukrainian victory and a corresponding Russian loss; that is the battle for allegiance of the many so far non-aligned countries of the world to “The Western rules based international order (tm.)”. I read somewhere that approximately 130 countries have not signed on to our crusade against Russia and China and those countries each have a vote in the U.N. among other things, not to mention their possession of raw materials we might like to extract. This is the real battle being fought.

    Everyone likes to be on the winning side – hence our efforts to promote a Ukrainian and Western success. You can bet that every other diplomatic and financial lever we possess is being used to shore up support for our position.

    There is of course the military dimension – for example detaching the “stans” from Russia so as to make trouble on their borders and frustrate OBOR, etc.

    Those pointy head Pol Sci types in the State Department will be earning their pay right now.

    Why some non aligned countries have even had the temerity to criticize us!


    • Fred says:


      “Those pointy head Pol Sci types in the State Department will be earning their pay right now.”

      Blinken and the boys? They are a big reason this mess exists to begin with. Do you remember Blinken’s meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Alaska, or their meeting in Rome later? He accomplished nothing, though he did avoid the fisting photo op disaster Biden managed in Riyadh. They are pressuring all those nations by using ‘rules’ to prevent purchasing oil and fertilizer and any of the other “sanctioned not embargoed” (TTG’s term) items. Which have done what to those nations’ economies? And our own.

  8. mcohen says:

    Now that grain exports are continuing by ship and …..


    There are two wheat crops in Ukraine — a fall planting of winter wheat, which is harvested in June, and a spring planting that begins in mid-March.”

    So winter wheat planting in September.

    For sunflower oil which ukraine supplies almost 50% of world production


    The decline is largely down to fighting taking place mainly in the main oilseed growing regions – Mykolaiv, Kherson, Zaporozhye regions (in the south of Ukraine) and Kharkov, Donetsk, Lugansk regions (in the east


    Considering that food prices are escalating and people in countries like the middle east and elsewhere are getting restless over shortages.
    Russia and the Ukraine could be facing unprecedented pressure to keep the war limited
    to cities and away from food production areas.

    Cities with ports in the south connected to exports will win a reprieve.Since russia controls kherson to a degree then the ukraine needs to move forward now before September.

    I read this on kherson


    On 6 June it was reported by the Ukrainian mayor of Kherson, Ihor Kolykhayev, that the occupiers had conducted a meeting of more than 70 Russian sympathizers aimed at conducting a referendum on the region integrating the occupied areas into Russia. His sources told him that the dates discussed were two: in September or at the end of 2022.[41] A Russian election happens on 11 September and the Kherson vote would be scheduled to coincide that day

    The bridge is closed so T1501 and m14

    Sunny day for flowers

  9. Worth Pointing Out says:

    Agreed. The biggest difference is that you have been predicting that the Russians will soon run out of missiles, ammo and men since mid-March.

    And yet as predictions go it never seems to come to pass.

    • Pat Lang says:

      it is an ongoing process.

    • MapleLeaf says:

      I’ve seen some Russian claims begin to circulate saying that they are producing smart munitions at a greater rate now than they are actually using them. I have no idea if that is true, but with the very long history, and deep Russian understanding of missile technologies it seems feasible.

      I’d suspect that the tech side of it would be what would hold them up, but that seems like something they could have easily planned for in advance, they had just under 8 years to do so…

      I think it is far more likely that the Russians have seen what an advantage they have in military production, and are happy to capture territory at a slow pace if it means exhausting NATO stocks of weapons. The Chinese must be elated.

  10. KjHeart says:

    If Russia really has 85% of its fighting force active in Ukraine right now- that would imply only 15% to protect ‘back home’ – I follow that logic and look at which countries are the likely back-up defense for Vlad… I recall Xi Jinping making a public statement (not that long ago) about supporting Russia.. The thing is though – more and more internal unrest (reports) from China (involving military response against Chinese citizens – see Shandong and Henan province most recently) lead me to wonder just how much of Xi’s words of support could end up being just words?

  11. Clueless Joe says:

    What should be slightly worrying is that the agencies claiming Russia is close to collapse are the same who came up with all these claims of Trump collusion with Russia back in the day. If they were so blatantly lying then, why should we fully rely on them now?
    Russian side is basically making the same outrageous claims that Ukrainian/Western side is making, “they’re runnning out of ammo and of men, morale is down and their soldiers are revolting, they’re conscripting 50s old unfit dudes, a big attack that will break them is coming soon, their economy is dying, we’re winning”. I’d rather expect the truth to be somewhere in the middle, but not to be that close to what one side is saying. Whatever victoy will happen, for whatever side, it’ll be longer and way costlier than any side pretends to – and will definitely be too costly even for the winning side to be close to a Pyrrhic victory.

    • Sam says:

      I tend to agree with this sentiment. I’ve got no idea what’s the reality in the war between the Russians and the Ukrainians. Our IC have lied for so long they don’t deserve any trust. So as well the Brits, Russians and Chinese. We are effectively buffeted by propaganda from all sides. There will naturally be a sprinkling of truth in all the breathless media and think tank reporting. But uncovering it would require extraordinary sleuthing skills.

      Below link to paper that says the Russian economy is wrecked. Of course there are others who say the Russian economy has achieved nirvana.


      This situation not only exists in Donbass war but extends to almost every sphere that the government is involved in. The Covidian authoritarianism being an excellent recent example. The IO campaign was epic – and globally too. The vax proved not a vax by the classical definition, so they changed the definition. Then they said it prevents hospitalization, yet so many vaxed and boosted succumbed. And these guys are laughing all the way to the bank…


      Profits of the pandemic: Moderna gives Boston’s property market a shot in the arm after executives splashed out millions on luxury homes near pharma giant’s HQ after COVID vaccine sent profits soaring

      No wonder increasing percentage of Americans don’t trust anything coming out of the media, academia, think tanks and of course the government. Consequently, it appears to me that we are becoming more susceptible to believing the outlandish.

      How does one consume and evaluate information in an age of mass deceit?

      • Whitewall says:

        Don’t trust. I read some wise words right here a few months back when I found this blog:
        “Trust no one. Verify everything.”

        • Al says:

          WW, so….who/what/where do you verify everything, if you trust no one?
          You present a conundrum. Is that your intent?

          • Steve says:


            The secret of that is to measure the balance of probabilities with what you know for sure. Anything beyond this parameters is likely to be just propaganda.

          • Whitewall says:

            It is a hell of a conundrum. My go to sources have always been limited, so for me, expanding them has become necessary along with waiting a little longer before forming any conclusion. Group think is an easy trap and I have fallen in more often than I should have. The back and forth right here on this war has been instructive. At my age I should have known better.

  12. I’m going to take the contrary side, just to be contrary.
    I remember the Arab oil embargo, after the Yam Kippur War in 73 and the kick in the gonads it gave American culture. Also remember a long string of other wars our side has instigated over the last 60 years and find it hard to overlook a lot of the leadups to this conflict. I’m also not blind to the serious decline in the quality of leadership this country has experienced and know how important respect for those in charge is, in a situation like this.
    The fact is, the Russians really have put forward one definite goal, to keep Nato out of Ukraine and I don’t see Nato in any particular rush to join the fight. Lots of fist waving, medium amount of arms, some tactical advice, but apparently extremely detrimental to the maintainability of the Ukrainian army. Their Maginot Line plan hasn’t worked out so well.
    Yet Russia keeps sending some moderate amount of oil to Europe. Why? I suspect that they think that by the next year, or maybe two, much of the current European leadership will be on the dock, in some way or another and when it’s all over, the new European leadership will decide to let bygones be bygones and go back to buying Russian oil.
    Interesting post on Zerohedge, about how the Repubs are rubbing their hands over Bannon being tried for ignoring congress, as they draw up the list of Dems they plan on calling next year, starting with Hunter and family.
    In which case, attention to Ukraine will drop down there with Afghanistan.

    • Jake says:

      That does sound like a strategy. With plenty of confirmation for those who care to look for it. Russia just slashed interest rates with fifteen base-points. Interest is still sky-high at eight percent, compared to the US and Europe, but I’m looking at trends. As well as the overall development of non-military alliances around the world. Interest in the Dollar and Euro is waning. New trade routes, bypassing the areas controlled by NATO, and shorter, promising seamless delivery of goods, and raw materials, are being developed at break-neck speed.

      China and Russia (BRICS/SCO) didn’t give up on Europe, or the US and Canada for that matter. They are not in the business of ‘Regime Change’ Nuland-style, or as peddled by the Clintons when Hillary lost to Trump, but they appear to expect a change of heart when the consequences of NATO/Davos-policy hit home.

      The biggest threat to their strategy, if that actually is the plan, is a ‘False Flag’ operation triggering WW-III in earnest. Those who studied post-war history from a military perspective will remember the (Second) ‘Gulf of Tonkin’-incident, which was a complete fabrication, and ‘gave’ us the Vietnam-war. They remember the USS Liberty, which was attacked by Israel, while the US Administration under the same Lyndon B. Johnson which gave us the disastrous war in Vietnam lay the blame on Egypt, committed the US to supporting Israel, shedding the Eisenhower and Kennedy policy of neutrality, never to look back. And then there was this now ‘famous’ WMD-hoax. Various other incidents can be added to this short list which reveals an eagerness to ‘game’ the public, as well as the military, into accepting war.

      Right after a deal was reached on grain exports, Odessa was hit by another explosion. The Russians immediately scrambled and called Turkey to deny it had been them. That is not proof of anything, but I find it noteworthy in the context of the above. The position of Turkey, a NATO-member, and ally of Ukraine, while seen as a country supporting the Turkic ethnic group of the Uyghurs in China, is key. Rumor has it that Russia saved Erdogan from being overthrown by scheming NATO-allies, thereby earning his trust. Despite the fact that Turkey shot down a Russian jet attacking ISIS/Al Qaeda positions in Syria shortly before that. I do emphasize that there is no confirmation of this angle, which renders it a conspiracy theory. But as I tried to illustrate in the previous paragraph, more than a few conspiracy theories turned out to be conspiracy facts, too late to change anything. But I’m not in the business of actively changing things, since I do not have the reach to accomplish anything. I’m trying to understand. In order to know what is coming.

      European leaders, most of them, are telling me that the future is ‘Green’, and prosperous, if only we get rid of Putin, and ‘convince’ the Chinese to accept our lead. I do not subscribe to that fairytale for various reasons. Non of those reasons mark me as someone who adores Putin, or Xi, or as a lobbyist for polluting industries. My biggest fear now, is that our leaders will offer us a future which is bloody red, and/or pitch black. Not necessarily because they intend to, but because they got lost in their own game, lost sight of reality, and never saw what was coming.

      • Steve says:


        “The Russians immediately scrambled and called Turkey to deny it had been them”

        The Russians have now admitted they fired on Odessa. The Ukrainians were using cover of the agreement to haul in weapons systems using civilian infrastructure to do so. So it’s the same old story.

      • Leith says:

        Jake – “Odessa was hit by another explosion. The Russians immediately scrambled and called Turkey to deny it had been them.”

        That was yesterday. Today the 24th, RF MFA spokesperson Maria Zakharova said on Telegram: “Kalibr missiles destroyed military infrastructure in the port of Odessa, with a high-precision strike,…” They figured they couldn’t wiggle out of it, so they changed the story.

        • Jake says:

          Leith, you wrote:

          ‘They figured they couldn’t wiggle out of it, so they changed the story.’

          My reading of the correct sequence of events is as follows:

          1. The Russians fired four cruise missiles from afar at two legitimate military targets. A fast patrol boat, and a warehouse containing recently delivered Harpoon missiles.

          2. (Some) of the cruise missiles hit their target, sinking the patrol boat and destroying the warehouse.

          3. Zelensky got on the airwaves, never mentioned any military targets, claiming instead civilian objects had been hit, and calling it a barbaric act. Zelensky’s version was immediately replicated in the western media.

          4. The Russians immediately called Turkey to tell them no such barbaric act had taken place which could be attributed to them.

          5. After receiving confirmation that the original targets had been destroyed, they confirmed THAT strike, still denying any barbaric act.

          If you accept that sequence, it is easy to understand why the Russians were eager to deny targeting civilian objects, while not (yet) in a position to deny that no explosion took place killing civilians around the same time. Whether on purpose, or because a cruise missile or air defense missile strayed off course. On various previous occasions the Russians claimed their missiles hit their intended targets, but air defense missiles fired at those incoming missiles were responsible for the damage to civilian infrastructure. In this particular case it appears the entire reading Zelensky offered was pure fiction. The original hits were shown on Twitter. My point is, that fiction can drive decisions with far reaching consequences. They are then rightfully listed as ‘False Flag’ events.

  13. Word in RT is it was the Russians, shooting at a warehouse of Harpoons and a ship, in Odessa.
    Russia had its reality check, with the fall of the Soviet Union and now the West’s kleptocracy, branded as capitalism, is having its own reality check. Debt doesn’t matter, until it does.
    Money is a contract, not a commodity and the bankers will rue putting a bunch of grifters and prostitutes in charge, when they need a semi functioning government to enforce the property rights to all that debt.
    Economics, as reality, is the ups and downs. Ideology, even those branded as economics, only believes in the up. When our infinite growth is fueled by infinite debt…..
    Eventually we will have public banking, like we finally accepted public government.

  14. whoknows says:

    I’m sure the Russians will try to rotate as much of their professional force through Ukraine as possible.
    That does not mean that 85% of the whole force is engaged at any time.

    • TTG says:


      I’m sure Russia will rotate everyone they can into Ukraine. They have no choice with 85% of the combat units already there or whittled down to nothing.

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