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Russia is stuffing an elite paratrooper force with poorly trained troops that are eroding its power, UK intel says

Russia is stuffing an elite paratrooper force with poorly trained troops that are eroding its power, UK intel says
Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures in a black coat beside men in camouflage
Russian President Vladimir Putin at a training center of the Western Military District for mobilized reservists in October 2022.Sputnik/Mikhail Klimentyev/Kremlin via REUTERS
  • Russia is sending a new division of its VDV paratrooper force into Ukraine, the UK MOD said.

  • But the division is "likely be poorly trained," it said.

  • It said the division is unlikely to meet the elite standard the VDV once had.

Russia's once-elite paratrooper force is being padded out with low-quality soldiers that are eroding its elite status, according to UK intelligence.

The UK Ministry of Defence gave an intelligence update on Thursday on the VDV — Russia's once-revered paratrooper force.

The VDV has "likely started deploying the newly formed 104th Guards Airborne Division (104 GAD) in Ukraine for the first time," the update said.

It would bring the number of VDV division up to five, from its previous level of four, per the update.

But this division will "likely be poorly trained and is unlikely to meet the erstwhile elite standards of the VDV," the MOD said.

The VDV traditionally served as shock troops and a rapid-intervention force, Business Insider previously reported.

But that role, as well as the nature of the troops in it, has changed as the invasion of Ukraine grinds on.

The UK MOD said in September that Russia was using the VDV as regular infantry to compensate for other overstretched forces, even though the VDV's units likely were not even at full strength.

The Institute for the Study of War, a US think tank, gave a similar analysis that same month, saying Russia was using the VDV like regular infantry, perhaps making them "airborne in name only."

It also said last month that the VDV's motivation to fight had dropped to "critical levels" after steep losses.

The quality of Russian troops has degraded as Russia continues its invasion, which it launched in February 2022.

Once-elite units have seen their losses replaced with worse-trained reinforcements.

The MOD said the 104 GAD was likely assembling in Ukraine's southeastern Kherson Oblast, a key battleground where Ukraine's forces have recently reported advances.

Read the original article on Business Insider