Russia will likely hastily redeploy forces from Mariupol to Donbas without time for “adequate preparation” once it has secured the city, the UK’s defense ministry said on Friday, as Moscow’s losses mount and commanders face growing pressure to make meaningful gains in Ukraine.

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Once Russia has secured Mariupol, it will likely redistribute forces there to “reinforce operations in the Donbas,” the UK defense ministry said in an intelligence update.

“Staunch” resistance in Mariupol, a strategically important port city on Ukraine’s Black Sea coastline, has hampered Russian progress for nearly three months and its forces must be “re-equipped and refurbished before they can be redeployed effectively,” the ministry said.

“This can be a lengthy process when done thoroughly,” the briefing added.

However, Russian forces are likely to be redeployed “swiftly” and “without adequate preparation” due to the intense “pressure” on Putin’s commanders to show tangible progress in Ukraine, risking further military losses, the ministry said.


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