Russia’s airborne forces have come under intense fighting from Ukrainian troops (Picture: Reuters / AP)

The Russian Air Force is losing its airborne superiority to Ukraine, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has said.

In what will make painful reading for the Russian President, the MoD detailed his ‘tactical failures’ in its latest war report.

It said Russia’s retreat away from a key airport near Kyiv, the stalled progress in Izium, and the failed crossing over the Siverskyi Donets River have all cost Putin dearly.

According to British intelligence, Putin’s military is an ‘unbalanced overall force’, while strategic mismanagement is to blame for Russia losing air superiority.

Apparent ‘complacency’ among Russian commanders was also causing heavy losses among the country’s elite units, the report said.

The MoD wrote: ‘Russia’s airborne forces – the VDV – have been heavily involved in several notable tactical failures since the start of Russia’s invasion.

‘This includes the attempted advance on Kyiv via Hostomel Airfield in March, the stalled progress on the Izium axis since April, and the recent failed and costly crossings of the Siverskyi Donets River.

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The latest intelligence report cites a feeling of ‘complacency’ among Russian commanders (Picture: AP)

Russian forces have tried to capture Kyiv but have so far failed (Picture: AP)

Pro-Russian troops are struggling to gain advantages in many areas (Picture: Reuters)

‘Russian doctrine anticipates assigning the VDV to some of the most demanding operations. The 45,000-strong VDV is mostly comprised of professional contract soldiers. Its members enjoy elite status and attract additional pay.

‘The VDV has been employed on missions better suited to heavier armoured infantry and has sustained heavy casualties during the campaign. Its mixed performance likely reflects a strategic mismanagement of this capability and Russia’s failure to secure air superiority.’

The defence chiefs added the ‘misemployment’ of the VDV in Ukraine highlights how Putin’s significant investment in the military has ‘unbalanced’ its overall force.

Russian troops have so far failed to capture Kharkiv as well (Picture: Reuters)

Russian tanks now litter much of Ukraine after failed attacks (Picture: Rex/Shutterstock)

Russian forces are now concentrated on the Donetsk region (Picture: Reuters)

Russia’s makeshift bridge over the Siverskyi Donets River was destroyed by Ukrainian forces (Picture: Reuters)

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‘The failure to anticipate Ukrainian resistance and the subsequent complacency of Russian commanders has led to significant losses across many of Russia’s more elite units,’ they added.

This is not the first time reports have confirmed Russian losses in Ukraine.

Earlier this month, the MoD said Putin had lost a third of his troops in the face of stiff resistance.

The previous report found Russia had ‘lost momentum’ and was ‘significantly behind schedule’ in annexing Ukraine’s eastern region.

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