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Russian forces in Ukraine suffer from “moral and disciplinary problems” which are at least partly due to problems with their compensation, the British Defense Ministry said.

The Russian side suffered heavy losses more than six months after the invasion, prompting Putin last month to order an increase in the number of military forces from 137,000 to about 1.15 million.

Members of the Russian military receive a modest base salary with a “complex variety of bonuses and allowances,” the UK Defense Ministry said, but so far there have likely been problems with paying those combat bonuses.

A convoy of pro-Russian troops moves along a street in Mariupol, Ukraine.
(REUTERS / Chingis Kondarov)

“This is probably due to the inefficient military bureaucracy, the unusual legal status of the” special military operation “and at least a real corruption [among] commanders, “said the British Ministry of Defense.

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It is not the first time that Western military officials have noticed problems with discipline in the Russian ranks. A senior US defense official told reporters in a background phone call in May that “moral and unified cohesion remains an issue.”

“Soldiers do not obey orders, or do not fight as well or as aggressively as they are told or expected, to the point where some officers refuse to obey,” the official said at the time.

Smoke rises from a Russian tank destroyed by Ukrainian forces on the side of a road in the Lugansk region.

Smoke rises from a Russian tank destroyed by Ukrainian forces on the side of a road in the Lugansk region.
(ANATOLII STEPANOV / AFP via Getty Images)

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Russia has lost between 60,000 and 80,000 troops so far in Ukraine, US officials believe. Efforts are underway to replenish their forces.

“They did this in part by removing the maximum age limits for new recruits and also by recruiting prisoners,” a senior US defense official said last month. “Many of these new recruits have been observed as older, unsuitable and poorly trained.”

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