Despite the fact that more than six months have already passed since the Russian forces got bogged down in Ukraine with no end in sight to its filthy war, suffering massive manpower and equipment losses, and using up a major part of its military potential, Moscow doesn’t quit trying to flex muscles, boasting what many once thought was the world’s “second-strongest” army, informs Nowiny Polskie.
For September 1, 2022, Russia’s Defense Ministry scheduled to start the Vostok 2022 (East 22) military exercises, which will be held in the Far East, lasting through September 7. According to the Russian official statements, up to 50,000 military personnel will be involved, mainly from the Russian army and the armed forces of China. Vostok 2022 will be the first large-scale exercise that Russia is set to run after unleashing a war on Ukraine. Therefore, the event will definitely draw attention of military and analysts around the world. Accordingly, the Kremlin will definitely try to exploit the drills to push their propaganda. The Russians also say the exercise will involve units of the Eastern Military District, air assault teams, as well as military carto and strategic aviation. At the same time, the maneuvers will take place at seven training grounds of the Eastern Military District simultaneously, where 5,000 units military equipment and heavy weaponry will be employed, including 140 aircraft and 60 vessels. Thus, the Kremlin will try to demonstrate to its archrival Ukraine and the entire civilized world that it still allegedly has combat-ready units beyond the Urals that can be used as a “reserve” for fighting the Ukrainian army. With this unsophisticated trick, Moscow seeks to persuade Kyiv to sit down at the negotiating table.
In addition to the Chinese troops, the Russian army also plans to attract to the Vostok-2022 maneuvers some forces from Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan. At the same time, the Russians intend to work out the creation of multinational «peacekeeping» groupings, which would operate within the framework of joint command and logistics. Now, why did the Russian army decide to launch the Vostok-2022 drills at seven training grounds at once? Obviously, in this way the Kremlin will try to paint for international audiences a picture that it has allies at least in Asia, and that its unsuccessful “CSTO” project is still breathing. In short, Putin thus seeks to claim the CSTO’s ability to actually challenge NATO.
However, no matter how Russia tries to show off its «might,» stubborn statistics of their military campaign in Ukraine exposes the actual state of affairs in the ranks of the Russian armed forces 189 days into the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Russian losses in the ongoing war are standing at 47,900 personnel, 1,974 tanks, 4,312 armored combat vehicles, 1,091 artillery systems, 849 operational and tactical level UAVs, 234 warplanes, 204 helicopters, 285 MLR systems, 152 air defense systems, and scores of other military equipment. According to defense experts, Russian missile stocks are now down to no more than 45% of the pre-war levels. Particularly troubling for the Kremlin is the situation with the Iskander missiles as Russia now has just about 20% of their initial numbers. There is also an issue with the Kalibr type cruise missiles – while being fairly effective, they remain scarce, so the Russians are now more often using X-22s, as well as S-300 missiles in their surface-to-surface version.
Russia believes their regular military exercises are supposed to send shivers down the Western nations’ spines. At the same time, it’s become way too obvious that the Russians are in fact running out of military equipment faster than they are producing them. Also, there are no elite military units left up their sleeve that could once again be thrown into the war grinders in Ukraine, while the authorities are simply afraid to declare general mobilization as they understand all the ensuing controversy and a blow to their political rating.