RUSSIAN soldiers are being ordered into battle with only SHOVELS to defend themselves amid a massive weapons shortage.
Troops are being used as cannon fodder by Vladimir Putin as he resorts to 19th-century tactics to arm his men.
The UK Ministry of Defence revealed Russian forces were forced to attack a Ukranian position with just “firearms and shovels”.
They had to advance toward the concrete strong point late last month, only highlighting their “low-tech fighting” further.
Putin’s men have lost vast quantities of weapons during the war in Ukraine, including a whopping 2398 artillery guns.
Another 3397 tanks, 6658 armoured vehicles, 300 warplanes and 18 ships have fallen victim to the conflict.
Russia is thought to have lost as many as 153,100 men since Putin began his botched invasion on February 24 last year.
It has turned into a military failure of incredible scale, with poorly trained and equipped soldiers being sent to their deaths by incompetent leaders.
Russian warlord and Putin’s pal Yevgeny Prigozhin blamed the pile-up of bodies in Ukraine on the recent weapons shortage.
Dozens of Russian mercenaries from the Wagner group were massacred after running out of ammo, he claimed.
The private army‘s head said the bloodbath in Bakhmut was due to their lack of weaponry supply.
The MoD’s intelligence briefing stated: “The ‘shovels’ are likely entrenching tools being employed for hand-to-hand combat.”
The apparatus, believed to be the standard issue MPL-50, were laughed off as an outdated combat technique by officials.
The statement continued: “The lethality of the standard issue MPL is particularly mythologised in Russia.
“Little changed since it was designed in 1869, its continued use as a weapon highlights the brutal and low-tech fighting which has come to characterise much of the war.
“One of the reservists described being ‘neither physically nor psychologically’ prepared for the action.”
The MoD said Russia seems to have prioritised close combat in Ukraine due to their shortage of munitions.
“This is probably a result of the Russian command continuing to insist on offensive action largely consisting of dismounted infantry, with less support from artillery fire.”
Putin’s troops and the Ukrainians are slugging it out in mud bath conditions, the MoD has said.
That will tilt the advantage even further in the direction of the defending Ukrainians as Russian vehicles become bogged down, making them easy targets.
According to Ukraine’s armed forces, a further 930 Russian soldiers have died within the past 24 hours.
The current estimated total of Russian losses is 153,120.
They suffered one of their worst defeats during their failed bid to seize Vuhledar which cost them 300 soldiers.
More than 100 military vehicles were also destroyed in the battle after they were caught in a bottleneck as they advanced along narrow roads.
Reports claim the motors were blown up by mines or picked off by the Ukrainians.
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