There have been "anecdotal reports" that some Russian military members have refused orders from their superiors in Ukraine, according to a senior U.S. defense official.
The new details emanating from the Pentagon on Monday come as Russia continues its unsuccessful attempts to capture the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine, where Russian separatists and Ukrainian nationalists have fought for eight years.
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The Pentagon has seen “anecdotal reports” that “mid-grade officers at various levels, even up to the battalion level,” have “either refused to obey orders or are not obeying them with the same measure of alacrity that you would expect an officer to obey," the official said.
The official has described multiple times since Russia invaded on Feb. 24 that the Russians have suffered from morale issues within their ranks.
“I would not characterize it as successful, not at all,” the official said when asked to characterize the Russian military’s status in the Donbas. “They really haven’t achieved any significant progress on the lines of axes that they had anticipated achieving in the northern Donbas. They are being resisted very effectively by the Ukrainians. So, again, I go back to the word I used last week — incremental and somewhat anemic.”
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Also on Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin gave his much-anticipated Victory Day speech in Moscow. He did not include an announcement of victory in Ukraine or any declarations of further troop mobilizations.