Will Russia turn to brutal siege-style tactics next against Ukraine? On day six of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Russian forces are still facing fierce resistance from the Ukrainian military and civilians and continue to struggle to meet their objectives.
A Slow But Steady Slog
U.S. defense officials believe that the Russian military plan is at least a few days behind schedule. But the invading Russian forces are slowly making progress, even at a pace of a few miles per day.
On Tuesday, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu stated that Russia won’t stop its “special military operation” in Ukraine until it achieves its primary objectives. He also said that the U.S. should withdraw its nuclear weapons from Europe in what seems to be an attempt to shift the conversation from the illegal invasion of Ukraine to nuclear arms.
The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Tuesday, Ukrainian forces have killed, wounded, or captured approximately 5,710 Russian troops, destroyed 29 fighter, attack, and transport jets, 29 helicopters, 198 tanks, 77 artillery pieces, 846 armored personnel carriers, 24 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), two boats, 305 cars, 60 fuel tanks, seven anti-aircraft batteries, and three unmanned aerial systems. The veracity of these numbers couldn’t be verified, but footage from the ground shows extensive Russian losses.
It also appears that Mariupol, a Ukrainian city between occupied Crimea and the Russian-backed rebels in the Donbas, will be the place of fierce combat in the next few days as Russian troops advancing from the Crimean in the south and Donbas in the north have surrounded it. Thus far, the Ukrainian military has done an exceptionally good job defending Ukraine. But counteroffensives and reclaiming lost ground are harder and require surprise and relative superiority at a particular point. It will be hard for the battered Ukrainians to relieve a besieged city.
Continuous Support From All Fronts
Meanwhile, the U.S. and countries from across Europe continue to send weapons and medical and humanitarian aid to Ukraine.
On Sunday, the European Union announced a $500 million defense aid package to Ukraine that will include fighter jets. According to reports, Ukrainian pilots have already gone into Poland to receive MiG-29 Fulcrum fighter jets and fly them back to Ukraine to participate in the fight.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Russia would hold any European Union citizens and entities that are involved in the supply of lethal weapons to Ukraine responsible.
But the International Criminal Court said that it wants to investigate Russia for possible war crimes, especially the deployment of cluster munitions and thermobaric bombs and the targeting of civilian targets.
Meanwhile, Ukraine, with the support of several European nations, is seeking to join the European Union as soon as possible.
“The best decision the EU can make now is to accept Ukraine as a new full-fledged member of the European Union without delay. Historic times require big and historic decisions which can change the flow of events. This step is exactly such a decision,” Ukrainian Foreign Secretary Dmytro Kuleba said.
1945’s New Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist specializing in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. His work has been featured in Business Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP.