The number of Russian soldiers in Ukraine is not enough to hold major cities for long should this war become drawn out, vice president of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Seth Jones, predicts.
“The Russian army is overextended and in a precarious position if Ukraine becomes a protracted war. Assuming 150,000 Russian soldiers in Ukraine and a population of 44 million, that is a force ratio of 3.4 soldiers per 1,000 people. You can't hold territory with those numbers,” he said.
Jones compared the current Russian force ratio to occupations after previous wars around the world, saying that other force ratios were “astronomically higher”.
He listed examples:
The Allied forces occupying Germany in 1945 had 89.3 troops to 1,000 inhabitants.
NATO forces in Bosnia in 1995 had 17.5 troops to 1,000 inhabitants.
NATO forces in Kosovo in 2000 had 19.3 troops to 1,000 inhabitants.
International forces in East Timor in 2000 had 9.8 troops to 1,000 inhabitants.
“High numbers of troops and police are critical to establish basic law and order… They [Russian soldiers] will be in serious danger of being picked apart by Ukrainian insurgents,” Jones said.
Russia launched a comprehensive assault on Ukraine on February 24 that saw hundreds injured and killed dozens of civilians according to Kyiv’s authorities.
Despite crippling and wide-ranging sanctions imposed on Russia by the US and the European Union, President Vladimir Putin shows no signs of relenting.
However, intelligence reports and Western defense officials say that Moscow's forces are behind schedule, facing unexpected resistance from Kyiv's troops.