US commander estimates nearly three-quarters of Russian forces are dedicated to Ukraine

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Gen. Tod Wolters, head of U.S. European Command, said Tuesday that Russia has devoted the vast majority of its military personnel to the invasion of Ukraine.

During a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, Sen. Angus King, D-Maine, noted the large number of Russian reserves committed to the cause, and he asked Wolters what portion of the Russian military was now involved in the invasion.

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“What portion of their entire military force, in terms of people, have been committed to Ukraine at this point, and what level of reserves do they have to call upon?” King asked.

“In a different setting I can give you a precise number, but in the 70 to 75% category are devoted to this from a Russian perspective, at this time,” Wolters estimated.

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King noted that this is “a very substantial portion of their total force” in Ukraine. In light of this, King asked if Ukraine would be able to successfully stall the Russians or push them back. Wolters said he believes Ukraine “can succeed in stalling the Russians,” but stopped short of any further optimism about Ukraine’s chances.

Still, Wolters noted that Ukrainian forces “show a very, very positive learning curve,” leading him to be “optimistic” about their ability “to force additional stalling” by Russia.

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Earlier in the hearing, it was mentioned that American forces increased their numbers in Europe from roughly 60,000 to 100,000 due to the Russia-Ukraine war, and Wolters said he expects that the U.S. will need another increase when it is over.

“I think what we need to do from a U.S. force perspective is look at what takes place in Europe following the completion of the Ukraine-Russia scenario and examine the European contributions and … based of the breadth and depth of the European contributions, be prepared to adjust the U.S. contributions,” Wolters said in response to Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss. “And my suspicion is we’re going to still need more.”

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