Russia is likely using its specialist airborne units as line infantry to cover its "overstretched ground forces" in Ukraine, according to the Ministry of Defence (MOD).
The MOD said Russia had probably reinforced the hard-pressed 58th Combined Arms Army with additional soldiers from the VDV airborne units in Zaporizhzhia Oblast over the past two weeks.
"A total of at least five VDV regiments drawn from the 7th and 76th divisions are likely now concentrated within several kilometres of the frontline village of Robotyne," it said in its latest defence intelligence update on X, formerly known as Twitter.
VDV stands for vozdushno-desantnye voyska Rossii, which simply means "Russian airborne forces", with such soldiers being identified by their blue berets and blue and white-striped telnyashka undershirts.
"At full strength, such a force should constitute around 10,000 elite paratroopers," the MOD said.
"However, almost all units are highly likely dramatically under strength.
"The current situation is likely to be seen as highly unsatisfactory by the VDV hierarchy.
"Throughout the war Russian commanders have attempted to regenerate the airborne forces as a highly mobile striking force for offensive operations.
"Once again, they are being used as line infantry to augment overstretched ground forces."
The news comes after the head of the UK Armed Forces called Russia a "diminishing power on a diminishing path".
Admiral Sir Tony Radakin also said Ukraine has displayed "incredible ingenuity" in the war against Russia, comparing the conflict to David and Goliath.
Last week, the MOD reported that a Russian landing ship and cruise missile submarine were likely left inoperable after being hit during a Ukrainian attack in Crimea.
During the early hours of 13 September, the Sevmorzavod dockyard at the home of Russia's Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol was targeted by multiple missiles.