Ukraine LIVE: Putin 'incredibly nervous' as mystery swirls over Russian base explosion

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Russian forces will soon be forced to prioritise military objectives as they continue to be stretched, according to the latest intelligence update from the British Ministry of Defence. 

The briefing said: “Russian commanders highly likely continue to be faced with the competing operational priorities of reinforcing the Donbas offensive, and strengthening defences against anticipated Ukrainian counterattacks in the south.

“To support the Ukraine operation, Russia has almost certainly established a major new ground forces formation, 3rd Army Corps (3 AC), based out of Mulino, in Nizhny Novgorod Oblast east of Moscow.

“Russia likely plans to resource a large proportion of 3 AC from newly formed ‘volunteer’ battalions, which are being raised across the country, and which group together recruits from the same areas.

“Russian regional politicians have confirmed that potential 3 AC recruits are being offered lucrative cash bonuses once they deploy to Ukraine.

“Recruitment is open to men up to 50 years old and with only middle-school education.

“A Russian army corps typically consists of 15-20,000 troops, but it will probably be difficult for Russia to bring 3 AC up to this strength, given very limited levels of popular enthusiasm for volunteering for combat in Ukraine.

“3 AC’s effect is unlikely to be decisive to the campaign.”



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