Russians increasingly employing mercenaries in offensive operations – UK intelligence

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The Russian Defense Ministry has increasingly centralized their command and control of pro-Russian irregular forces, highly likely to facilitate their use in offensive operations in Ukraine.

The UK Defense Ministry said this in an intelligence update on Ukraine, Ukrinform reports.

In February 2023, the Russian Defense Ministry established their “Volunteer Corps,” uniting over 20,000 volunteers, reservists, mercenaries and ex-convicts, who serve in numerous irregular units, under a single command and control framework.

According to British intelligence, since the formation of the “Volunteer Corps,” the Russian Defense Ministry has increasingly employed irregular forces in offensive operations, to which they are ill-suited.

Russia’s irregular formations are mainly light infantry units that lack integrated artillery or air support, making them more brittle than Russian regular formations.

“Consequently, during the last nine months, Russian irregular units have likely sustained proportionally higher casualty rates than Russian regular units,” the update said.

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