Things are not looking good for the Russians in Donbas. The Russian forces in Eastern Ukraine have been slow-moving the past few weeks trying to accomplish their goal of completely “liberating” the Donbas region. However, several reports have surfaced that Russian soldiers refuse to obey orders, signaling that morale issues still plague the Russian invasion forces.

“We still see anecdotal reports of poor morale of troops, indeed officers, refusing to obey orders and move and not really sound command and control from a leadership perspective,” an unnamed senior defense official said.

This official claimed that the refusal to follow orders was widespread among various levels of the military. These soldiers were from the “midgrade officers” and even up to the “battalion level.” Some would outright refuse the order or would execute the order, albeit at a reluctant pace without any urgency.

As a result, the invasion of Donbas has largely stalled once again, making small to little successes along the way. In fact, the Ukrainians are actually launching counterattacks against the Russian forces but have had mixed results. In places such as Kherson, a city that has been under Russian control since the start of the invasion, counterattacks have been largely unsuccessful.

Destroyed Russian T-90M in Izyum (The Dead District). Source:
Destroyed Russian T-90M in Izyum (The Dead District/Twitter)

US intel also revealed that the Russian forces have yet to learn from their mistakes from their first initial invasion campaign towards Kyiv. Russian troops were reportedly encountering logistics and supply issues in Donbas. The culprit to their challenge is a familiar foe – Ukrainian mud. This has slowed down their advancement in their campaign to “liberate” Donbas. The pace of advance is so bad that defense officials say that Russian troops have only made “single-digit kilometer” progress in the past week.

When asked to describe the progress of the Russian forces in Donbas, the US official said that “I would not characterize it as successful, not at all,” the official stated. “They really haven’t achieved any significant progress on the lines of axes that they had anticipated achieving in the northern Donbas. They are being resisted very effectively by the Ukrainians. So, again, I go back to the word I used last week — incremental and somewhat anemic.”

This is remarkable in that the Russian units in Ukraine are mechanized units with tanks and armored personnel carriers which rely on speed and mobility during an attack.

The Kremlin continues to send battalion tactical groups to Ukraine, with some 97 groups operating there. Each battalion group is comprised of some 700 to 800 soldiers. 5 BTGs were reportedly sent to southern Ukraine, with the purpose unknown. This is a notable increase as it was reported that some 80 BTGs were present in Ukraine last week. Fighting has notably been more intense in Kharkiv, where the Russians have yet to take control.