Assault on eastern Ukraine slowed because ‘Russians don’t like fighting in the rain’

Russia’s attempt to seize the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine is being hampered by weather conditions, because “Russians don’t like fighting in the rain”, Western officials have said.

President Vladimir Putin has shifted his military effort towards the largely Russian-speaking Donbas area after failing to take Ukrainian capital Kyiv and losing 15,000 or more troops in a bitter war which has now stretched over two months.

But Western sources said that his forces are making “slow progress” in the region because of stiff resistance from Ukrainian defenders, a failure to learn from tactical mistakes in the early stages of the war and an inability to cope with adverse environmental and weather conditions.

“Russia has continued to build up forces in and around the Donbas,” said one official. “That’s an ongoing process and as they begin to try and prosecute targets, they are making minor gains.

“But when they come up against genuine military objectives, they are finding it difficult to overcome the staunch Ukrainian resistance and they are suffering losses.

“It’s not helped by the weather conditions at the moment in the Donbass, with heavy rain. Russians don’t like to fight in the rain.”

He added: “This is what we are seeing in practice. They are not they are not advancing in in heavy rain.

“It’s also surprising that they have the ability to operate off the roads, and have done since the start of the conflict, but have chosen not to. It speaks to a bit of a miscalculation on their part in terms of how they employ their tactics, but also perhaps how they train to fight.”

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