The Russian special forces, made up of various units but collectively referred to as Spetsnaz, have suffered heavy losses in Ukraine, in front-line conventional warfare. This is of course an inefficient way of utilising soldiers who have special training for completely different missions.
It is difficult to know whether these claims are true. The British Ministry of Defense believes that the information that is now being spread with the help of these leaks cannot be trusted, according to The Times.
The UK ministry of defence claimed the leak had “demonstrated a serious level of inaccuracy”.
What the Discord-leaked papers claim is that Russian special forces have lost much of their ability to carry out the kinds of operations for which the special forces are trained. Which has been focused on missions behind enemy lines, either to carry out sabotage, intelligence, or to take out leading persons with the enemy.
Military leaders sent the special forces into conventional combat to improve the reputation of the Russian soldiers, US officials believe.
The staggering casualties suffered by elite Russian forces was the result of senior commanders sending Spetsnaz units into direct combat. All due to the officers’ desire to seize momentum and the scepticism over the quality of regular fighters, US officials believe.
According to the Washington Post, the documents do not state how many special forces have been injured or have lost their lives, but other intelligence sources show terrifying figures.
One unit alone — the 346th — “lost nearly the entire brigade with only 125 personnel active out of 900 deployed”.
The 22nd and two other Spetsnaz brigades suffered a 90 to 95 percent attrition rate, or degree of losses, the assessments say.
US intelligence failed to find any trace of an entire regiment of Spetsnaz returning to base, possibly meaning the regiment was effectively wiped out.
Moscow has not commented on the leaks, however Putin has previously praised the heroism shown by the Russian special forces during the invasion of Ukraine.
The Discord leaks also claim that Western special forces are on the ground in Ukraine. 50 British commandos, which one must assume consists mainly of the SAS regiment, make up the largest group. But other NATO countries also have special forces in place: Latvia (17), France (15), the USA (14) and the Netherlands (1).
None of these claims have been confirmed by NATO.