The volunteer battalions constituting Russia’s 3rd Army Corps will not be able to significantly change the situation on the battlefield in Ukraine, according to a report by the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).

Experts note that Russia will likely deploy the 3rd Army Corps to renew offensive operations, possibly on the Donetsk City axis and the Southern Axis.

Some battalions are deploying to the front lines as soon as they have completed their abbreviated initial training.

ISW predicts that the Russian military intends to commit the 3rd Army Corps to reinforce offensive operations near Donetsk City, where drives around Mariinka, Pisky, and Avdiivka have been stalling.

Elements of the 3rd Army Corps may also deploy to the southern direction, in particular near Kherson.

However, these new elements are unlikely to generate effective combat power.

The personnel of the 3rd Army Corps’ volunteer units are not well-trained or disciplined, although they were trained with more modern equipment such as BMP-3 infantry fighting vehicles, T-80BVM and T-90M tanks, and the latest AK-12 assault rifle variants.

“Better equipment does not necessarily make more effective forces when the personnel are not well-trained or disciplined. Previous military experience is not required for many of the 3rd Army Corps’ volunteer elements. Images of the 3rd Army Corp elements have shown the volunteers to be physically unfit and old,” ISW says.

Analysts have also noted that Russia’s lack of experienced, non-commissioned officers (NCOs) will hurt the 3rd Army Corps effectiveness.

At the same time, British intelligence believes that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decree to increase the strength of the Russian army by 140,000 is unlikely to have a significant effect on the ability to fight.

It remains unclear whether Russia will attempt to fill this increased allocation by recruiting more volunteer ‘contract’ soldiers or by increasing the annual targets for the conscription draft.

“In any case, under the legislation currently in place, the decree is unlikely to make substantive progress towards increasing Russia’s combat power in Ukraine. This is because Russia has lost tens of thousands of troops; very few new contract servicemen are being recruited; and conscripts are technically not obliged to serve outside of Russian territory,” the report reads.

As reported by the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine on Facebook, the total combat losses of the enemy between 24 February and 28 August approximately amounted to:

  • About 46,750 persons were liquidated
  • 1,942 tanks
  • 4,257 armoured fighting vehicles
  • 1,050 artillery systems
  • 274 multiple launch rocket systems
  • 148 anti-aircraft warfare systems
  • 234 aircraft
  • 202 helicopters
  • 3,171 motor vehicles and fuel tanks
  • 15 warships/boats
  • 838 unmanned aerial vehicles
  • 99 special equipment units
  • 196 enemy cruise missiles

Bohdan Marusyak

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