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Is Russia’s Military Starting to Fall Apart in Ukraine?

Javelin anti-tank missile. Image Credit: Creative Commons

On day ten of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Moscow’s war effort is really starting to struggle as Ukraine continues to put up a valiant resistance, even counterattacking at places.

Russian forces are trying to consolidate their gains in the South of Ukraine, while Kyiv is still holding strong.

Not As Planned 

The Kremlin’s invasion isn’t going as planned. To say that Russian President Vladimir Putin and his closest advisers miscalculated significantly would be an understatement. Not only the Ukrainian military is putting a much fiercer and more professional resistance that they—and the world expected—the Russian forces are underperforming at almost all levels.

Ten days into the conflict and the Russian Aerospace Force hasn’t established air dominance over the skies of Ukraine. Until Saturday, the approximately 300 fighter and attack jets that Moscow had amassed on the borders of Ukraine had only conducted a mere score of sorties. But on Saturday that seemed to be changing as more aircraft flew. But that also meant more casualties for the Russians.

On Saturday alone, the Ukrainian military shot down eight Russian manned and unmanned aircraft. More specifically, Ukrainian air defenses destroyed one Su-30SM Flanker multirole fighter jet, one Su-34 Fullback strike jet, two Su-25 attack jets, two Mi-24/35 attack helicopters, one Mi-8 transport helicopter, and one Orlan-10 unmanned aerial system.

According to the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense, in the ten days of war, the Ukrainian military has shot down 44 Russian fighter, attack, and transport aircraft and 44 helicopters. And U.S. defense officials assess that the Ukrainian Air Force can still conduct sorties and maintains overall air superiority.

American-provide FIM-92 Stinger anti-aircraft Man-Portable, Air Defense Missile Systems (MANPADS) have played an important role in ensuring that Russian aircraft don’t operate freely over Ukraine.

Invade Ukraine

Image from Vitaly V. Kuzmin. Russian Armata T-14 tank.

The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Saturday, Ukrainian forces have killed, wounded, or captured approximately 10,000 Russian troops, destroyed 44 fighter, attack, and transport jets, 44 helicopters, 269 tanks, 105 artillery pieces, 945 armored personnel carriers, 50 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), two boats, 409 cars, 60 fuel tanks, 18 anti-aircraft batteries, and four unmanned aerial systems. As always, the accuracy of these numbers is shrouded in a fog of war and expected hyperbole. But independent reporting from the ground does indeed suggest that the Russians have lost hundreds of weapon systems.

The Diplomatic and Political Front

Putin went on Russian television on Saturday to warn Ukraine and the world about the war. He stated that Russia will continue with its “special military operation” as planned and will see it through.

“The current leadership needs to understand that if they continue doing what they are doing, they risk the future of Ukrainian statehood,” Putin said.

Meanwhile, despite urgent requests by the Ukrainian government for a no-fly zone over Ukraine, the U.S. and NATO have ruled out that possibility for it would bring NATO aircraft in direct confrontation with Russian planes. Although the U.S. and NATO are supporting Ukraine in its fight against the Russian invasion, they have repeatedly said that they won’t go to war with Russia.

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 InsiderSandboxx, and SOFREP.

1945’s Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist with specialized expertise 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.



  1. Ab

    March 5, 2022 at 7:57 pm

    Why should Ukraine fear their its future statehood? Every house in Ukraine is already destroyed. Russia should fear the costs of rebuilding Ukraine if it would become a part of Russia.

  2. yellowstoneuk

    March 5, 2022 at 8:28 pm

    The absence of the Russian air force might imply they’re afraid of losses. Certainly the article does seem to indicate the russians don’t control ukraine space. The ukraine air force is not in great numbers, but the combination of military with stingers and the air force should give cause for pause with russia.
    So let me see there is a belligerent Russia with its economy going down the toilet. Ukraine can only get stronger with the weapons given to it over time. Probably at least two million militia can eventually engage the invaders. That is a ratio of 10x the invading russians.

  3. Tipsy Reader

    March 5, 2022 at 11:15 pm

    Don’t drink and write

  4. Qwerty Uiop

    March 6, 2022 at 1:04 am

    Love seeing the commie Russian trolls attempt to spew bile and bullsh*t and pass it off as legitimate. DeNaZiFyInG! LiBeRaTiNg! F*ing state-sponsored trash clowns. Hint: Ukraine doesn’t fear you clowns anymore! In fact – they’re slaughtering your boys in the streets (which are still standing, along with the houses as you say, btw)! Good riddance to bad rubbish. Russia – Go F*ck Yourselves!

  5. Max

    March 6, 2022 at 5:07 am

    “The current leadership needs to understand that if they continue doing what they are doing, they risk the future of Ukrainian statehood,” Putin said.

    Putin just revealed how pissed he is that Russia is not winning this war. In other words he’s warning Ukraine to stop being so effective at destroying Russian military hardware and inflicting so many Russian casualties. Or else he’ll send in the Russian army?

  6. SurfBird

    March 6, 2022 at 10:35 am

    It’s a mistake to take seriously any numbers for casualties or equipment from either side in any conflict since all parties have great motivation to lie. Even if they wanted to tell the truth (they don’t) it’s unlikely that anyone actually knows the real losses mid-battle.

    If Ukraine claims to have destroyed 1000 tanks then maybe the real number is around 500. If Russia admits they lost 100 then 500 is probably about right.

    Basic but still inaccurate starting rule – halve claims for enemy losses and double claims for own losses.

  7. Alex

    March 6, 2022 at 11:59 am

    The General Staff of the Russian Federation declares that everything is going according to plan. Do you know more than the General Staff of the Russian Federation? We still see how the Nazi formations in Ukraine are being destroyed, the US biological laboratories are being destroyed on the territory of Ukraine. If this is not a successful operation, then what is success?

  8. freedom boy

    March 7, 2022 at 5:58 am


    Success is watching your mooskie tooskie commies get their assess kicked by a ninth rate power.

  9. Karl R Maier

    March 7, 2022 at 8:46 am

    The Russian invasion is failing. The military incompetence is blatant, with obvious failures in Air Superiority, and Logistical supply (40 mile long supply convoy that doesn’t move). Unless the Ukrainians surrender, and they seem intransigent, the Russians can’t win. Any territory the Russians take will revert to Ukraine the moment the Russian forces leave.

    A Potemkin Military, it looks good on parade but can’t fight a real war.

  10. Alex

    March 7, 2022 at 4:43 pm

    How uneducated do you have to be to think that communism is in Russia. Communism is in China, which almost surpassed the United States economically.
    What successes … Yes, just the air defense of Ukraine has been destroyed, the sky is completely under the control of the Russian Aerospace Forces, 78% of the armored forces of Ukraine have been destroyed, tens of thousands of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (mostly Nazis) have been destroyed. Many prisoners. 43% of the territory of Ukraine is under the control of the Russian Army. The area is being cleared.
    Indeed, what are the successes? Clowns.

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