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British intel: Russia rushes new strategic reserve army into action months ahead of initial schedule

Ahead of their promised December deployment, elements of Russia’s newly-created strategic reserve 25 Combined Arms Army are now believed to be in Ukraine, according to British intelligence
British intel: Russia rushes new strategic reserve army into action months ahead of initial schedule

The British Defense Ministry’s 13 September intelligence update points to a premature deployment of elements of Russia’s strategic reserve 25th army, especially in Ukraine’s Luhansk Oblast, well ahead of the previously advertised December 2023 timeline.

The ministry tweeted:

  • Elements of Russia’s new 25th Combined Arms Army (25 CAA) have highly likely deployed to Ukraine for the first time. The formation is likely focused on Luhansk Oblast in the north-east of the country.
  • As recently as August 2023, recruitment adverts for 25 CAA claimed it would only deploy to Ukraine from December 2023.
  • It is likely that units have been rushed into action early partly because Russia continues to grapple with an over-stretched force along the front and Ukraine continues its counter-offensive on three different axes. However, there is also a realistic possibility that Russia will attempt to use parts of 25 CAA to regenerate an uncommitted reserve force in the theatre to provide commanders with more operational flexibility.

In an interview published on 1 September, Ukrainian Intelligence chief Kyrylo Budanov noted regarding the deployment of the 25th army by Russia that the army is already understaffed and is taking part in hostilities without any training.

“This army was not sent to reinforce but to replace the 41st Army, which began its slow movement southwards,” he said.

According to Kirill Budanov, the Russians have no reserves, and the 25th Army was formed as a strategic reserve, and was to be brought into combat readiness by October-November.

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