US underwhelmed with Russian forces’ performance in Ukraine so far: Austin

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Russia’s military has not performed up to their expectations in the invasion of Ukraine.

The Russian forces have “largely stalled across the country,” a senior U.S. defense official told reporters Friday, while Austin listed a series of Russian “missteps” in an interview.

“They’ve struggled with logistics,” Austin said. “So we’ve seen a number of missteps along the way. I don’t see evidence of good employment of tactical intelligence. I don’t see integration of air capability with the ground maneuver. So there are a number of things that we would expect to have seen that we just haven’t seen. And the Russians really have had some problems. Many of their assumptions have not proven to be true as they entered this fight.”


Russia’s offensive in Ukraine has entered its fourth week and its army remains behind schedule, according to Austin. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s forces remain more than 10 miles from the capital city of Kyiv, and those troops have faced significant resistance from Ukrainian forces.

The senior Pentagon official told reporters Thursday that the U.S. is seeing “anecdotal indications” that Russian forces’ morale is flagging, but it warned it could not be verified if it was widespread. Some of the decreased confidence of the forces can be attributed to “a function of poor leadership” and a “lack of information that the troops are getting about their mission and objectives,” the official added. “I think disillusionment from being resisted as fiercely as they have been” has also been a factor.

There have been reports from the Pentagon that some Russian troops have willingly surrendered while some others have sabotaged their vehicles. The Pentagon has told reporters that some of the soldiers are conscripts.

Russia has sent nearly all of the estimated 170,000 troops it had massed on Ukraine’s borders in the early winter into the country. So far, roughly 14,000 Russian forces have died, according to the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, while the U.S. estimates that roughly half that amount have been killed, according to the New York Times.

Russia’s struggles have largely been in the northern parts of Ukraine, specifically in its attempts to capture Kyiv. The army has had more success in the southern part of the country and has specifically targeted port cities along the southern coast, which connects with the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. Russian forces have captured Kherson and Melitopol, two coastal cities near the Crimean Peninsula while Mariupol (which is to the east of those two cities) “remains isolated,” and Russian forces “still appear to remain outside of the city” of Mykolaiv, which is to the west of the two cities.

Russia has had more success in this area in part due to the fact that these troops are getting resupplied from Crimea, which Russia effectively annexed in 2014. The troops have benefited from the existing infrastructure in place, while the distance they need to travel for the restocking is shorter than that for troops heading from the north toward Kyiv.

The third week of the siege appeared to mark an escalation in attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure. Austin told reporters Thursday that the attacks “we’ve seen most recently appear to be focused directly on civilians,” though he stopped short of accusing Russian forces of war crimes.

Two of the most talked-about cases of civilian casualties occurred in Mariupol. Days ago, one of the more than 1,000 missiles launched by Russia hit a maternity hospital. Five people died and more than a dozen were injured. More recently, Russia bombed a theater that had been serving as a shelter, even though Ukrainians had spelled out the word “children” in Russian in the front and back of the facility. It’s unclear how many people were killed in the attack.


  1. I guess this is Austin’s way of saying Ukraine doesn’t need all that much help. Not being a Secretary of Defense what I say now is out of school but how about this as an alternative idea ass wipe….THE UKRAINIANS ARE THAT FUCKIN GREAT….

  2. What, is this General just a fucking sock puppet then? He’s not impressed, he’s not afraid and he watches his Opponent bomb schools and hospitals but he’s afraid to create a no fly zone. He’s either a sock puppet or a worthless bureaucrat yes-man.

    • Worthless (may I add) fuckin moron and bureaucrat. Unfortunately I’m sure he’s just doing what Biden is telling him.

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