Radio Svoboda published images of a document on April 10 that it reported was issued by the Russian Ministry of Defense on April 2 offering specific bonuses for Russian troops in Ukraine. The document specifies large payments including 300,000 rubles [$3,600 at the official rate] for destroying a fixed-wing aircraft, 200,000 for destroying a helicopter, and 50,000 for armored vehicles and artillery. Radio Svoboda stated the payments are intended to coerce units withdrawn from the Kyiv, Chernihiv, and Sumy regions to reenter combat. We have previously reported several instances of Russian soldiers refusing orders to return to Ukraine after being pulled back.
Individual Russian attacks at roughly regiment size reported on March 8 and March 9 may represent the scale of offensive operations Russian forces can likely conduct on this axis at any one time. The possibility of a larger and more coherent general attack either to encircle Kyiv or to assault it in the coming days remains possible, but the continued commitment of groups of two to five battalion tactical groups (BTGs) at a time makes such a large-scale general attack less likely.
[W]e see it time and time again. The small, ineffective probes with little power, and no follow up elements to exploit any breakthroughs. Early in the war, observers thought these were “reconnaissance probes,” trying to suss out the location of defensive positions. Turns out, they were actual attacks, the most Russia could muster.
Thus, Ukraine continues to play rope-a-dope, letting the attacking BTG punch through, then slamming it from all sides. Nothing else is coming to its aid. And these attacks happen daily along this [Donbas front] line. Three such attacks yesterday, which was a relatively quiet day, seven on Friday, at least four on Thursday, seven on Wednesday, and so on. Imagine if Russia took those 20+ attacks, and combined them into one massive push? What a crazy idea! It would inevitably be far more effective! Instead, Ukraine continues to benefit from Russia’s rank incompetence
In an article for The Moscow Times, Soldatov suggested that it was possible Beseda was suspected of having passed information to the CIA.
Before taking over the Fifth Service, Beseda worked in counter-intelligence, a role that involved close liaison with the CIA station in Moscow. Were he to be a double agent, it would explain the Kremlin’s suspicions as to how US intelligence had been so accurate in the build-up to the invasion.
Soldatov said he did not believe Beseda was a double agent, but said it suited Putin’s purposes to suggest so.
“It’s good to be able to blame things on a traitor. It’s a very Russian thing to do,” he said.