The fact that Shtorm-Z units exist in the Russian army demonstrates Russia’s challenges in forming combat infantry capable of an effective offensive.
Source: UK Defence Intelligence update on Twitter dated 24 October, as reported by European Pravda
Details: The UK MoD noted that Russia is largely continuing to rely on Shtorm-Z units for localised offensive operations in Ukraine. These company-sized groups were likely first deployed in 2022.
Russia apparently initially intended them to be relatively elite units capable of seizing the tactical initiative. However, the Shtorm-Zs have effectively turned into penal battalions, made up of convicts and regular army personnel subject to disciplinary action, since at least the spring of 2023.
Numerous reports indicate that these units are given the lowest priority in terms of logistical and medical support, while they have often received orders to attack, UK analysts said.
The ministry stated that Russian troops have often conducted effective defence, but the very existence of Shtorm-Z reveals the extraordinary challenges Russia faces in creating a combat infantry capable of performing effective offensive operations.
Background: On 22 October, UK Defence Intelligence estimated that Russia’s losses in terms of killed and seriously injured amounted to up to 190,000, and up to 290,000 including the injured who can return to the battlefield after recovery.
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