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take me to your leader

Russian troops struggling without central war commander, U.S. says

The underperforming Russian military lacks a central war commander who's "on the ground" and calling the shots, The New York Times reports per U.S. officials familiar with the ongoing war.

The Russian effort is being run out of Moscow — not Ukraine — meaning the Kremlin is giving instructions to generals in the field, who are then giving those commands to the troops, who are then told to "follow those instructions no matter the situation on the ground," the Times writes. Such an approach "may go a long way" in explaining why Russian forces have struggled to overcome Ukrainian resistance. 

Without a "unifying leader in Ukraine," the Russian air, ground, and sea units have remained out of sync, with campaigns "plagued by poor logistics, flagging morale and between 7,000 and 15,000 military deaths," officials say. The disjointed effort has also contributed to the deaths of at least seven Russian generals, the Times writes.

An official also told the Times that Moscow's troops "had been left frustrated on the battlefield," unable to make any sort of move without instruction. They also do not have the agency to point out issues to higher-ups that should be obvious.

The problem "shows up in the mistakes that are being made," retired Gen. Wesley K. Clark, a former NATO commander, told the Times.

Meanwhile, however, there seem to be some command issues on the Ukrainian side of things, as well. On Thursday, President Volodymyr Zelensky cryptically announced the removal of two generals who had "not decided where their homeland is," he said, per The Daily Beast

"Now I do not have time to deal with all the traitors. But gradually they will all be punished," Zelensky added. "Random generals don't belong here!"