In terms of lost troops, equipment and ammunition, Russia has lost between 15% and 20% of the combat power it originally deployed against Ukraine, a senior U.S. Department of Defense official told ABC News on April 8.
According to him, some of the troops Moscow pulled back from northern Ukraine are currently on their way to Belgorod and Valuiki in Russia.
“There are no indications” there are fresh troops they will join with there, the Pentagon spokesman said.
Russian BTGs, depleted by heavy fighting in Ukraine, are “exploring possibilities” for combining in order to restore their fighting ability, said the official. Russia also intends to mobilize 60,000 people to form new regiments.
Once Russian forces finish regrouping and recovering, their next move will most likely be an “immediate advance south, towards the Donbas,” the Pentagon spokesman said.
ABC News were told that over 40 Russian BTGs are currently arrayed around Donbas – an increase of 10 compared to April 6, meaning that about 10,000 Russian troops have arrived in the theater over the past several days.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba earlier said the impending Battle for the Donbas would be akin to the battles of the Second World War.