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Putin Has a Problem: Russia’s Invasion in Ukraine Is Completely Stuck

T-80
Russian T-80 tank firing. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

On day 29 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Russian forces haven’t made any significant gains and have yet to meet any of their primary objectives.

Ukrainian resistance remains fierce across the country, with especially heavy fighting in Mariupol, in southwest Ukraine. Russian casualties are reaching unsustainable numbers, but Russian President Vladimir Putin remains committed to his invasion.

Unsustainable Losses

The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Thursday, Ukrainian forces have killed approximately 15,800 Russian troops (and wounded approximately thrice that number), destroyed 108 fighter, attack, and transport jets, 124 helicopters, 530 tanks, 280 artillery pieces, 1,597 armored personnel carriers, 82 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), four boats, 1,033 vehicles, 72 fuel tanks, 47 anti-aircraft batteries, 50 unmanned aerial systems, and 16 special equipment platforms, such as bridging or electronic warfare vehicles.

NATO’s assessment of Russian casualties is equally grim. NATO officials assess that up to 15,000 Russian soldiers have been killed in the four weeks of fighting. In addition to these fatalities, NATO officials estimate that between 30,000 to 40,000 Russian troops have been wounded, captured, or missing. If those numbers prove to be accurate, it would mean that the Russian military has lost close to a quarter of its pre-invasion force of 200,000.

The Ukrainian Air Force is very much still in the game. On Thursday, a Ukrainian unmanned aerial system engaged a Russian landing ship in Berdyansk, inflicting serious damage. The Alligator-class ship was in the region to support a potential amphibious assault against Odesa. Almost a month into the war, and the Russian military has yet to achieve air dominance despite its quantitative and qualitative superiority.

In its daily assessment of the war, the British Ministry of Defence echoed those numbers and indicated that the Kremlin might turn to its reservists and conscripts to replenish gaps created by the fighting. However, sending conscripts into Ukraine would contradict Putin’s commitment not to send conscript troops in Ukraine to support his “special military operation” and might stir trouble within Russia.

“Russian forces have almost certainly suffered thousands of casualties during their invasion of Ukraine. Russia is likely now looking to mobilise its reservist and conscript manpower, as well as private military companies and foreign mercenaries, to replace these considerable losses. It is unclear how these groups will integrate into the Russian ground forces in Ukraine and the impact this will have on combat effectiveness,” British Military Intelligence assessed.

More Troops! 

In response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, NATO mobilized for the first time in its history the NATO Response Force. The transatlantic alliance will also be sending more troops in the eastern flank to reassure members and deter Russia—not that Moscow has the military capability to open up any other fronts.

“In response to Russia’s actions, we have activated NATO’s defense plans, deployed elements of the NATO Response Force, and placed 40,000 troops on our eastern flank, along with significant air and naval assets, under direct NATO command supported by Allies’ national deployments. We are also establishing four additional multinational battlegroups in Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia,” NATO said in a press release.

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.

5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Bertram

    March 25, 2022 at 12:52 pm

    50,000 Russian troops killed, captured, wounded, missing, or deserted.
    A quarter of the preinvasion force is now neutralized.

    A month after the invasion that was supposed to last a week, Russia is bogged down and has made themselves appear so weak that formerly deferential eastern european countries like Finland now openly oppose Russia and seek to join NATO to preserve their independence and freedom.

    It is astonishing that even Finland has moved towards NATO. The word “Finlandization” was actually created to describe the politics of this country.

    Finlandization (noun) the process whereby a country is induced to favor, or refrain from opposing, the interests of a more powerful country, despite not being politically allied to it (originally with reference to the influence of the former Soviet Union on its neighbour Finland)

    Finland seeks to ally with NATO against Russia.

    People had the image of Putin as a bright, strategic tough guy who didn’t lose. Not a guy you would want to play poker with.

    Now it appears that image has cracked. He is a detached, autocrat surrounded by yes men, who believes his own propaganda. In a poker game he is willing to go all in on a pair of twos…when everyone knows he only has a pair of twos. He is incapable of admitting he blundered and will take the country down with him to preserve his own face. Time for a smart Russian General to make a deal with an oligarch and reshuffle the deck and deal Putin out.

    Vladimir Putin has managed to accomplish in 4 weeks, what American Presidents have been unsuccessfully trying to do for 70 years. Unify Europe around NATO. By the time this is done, Sweden, Finland AND Ukraine will be in NATO and Putin (if he is still alive) will be managing a hydroelectric dam in Siberia.

  2. wesley bruce

    March 25, 2022 at 4:27 pm

    By deploying NATO forces up to all the borders we lock the Russian forces in place. These experienced forces can’t be redeployed to Ukraine. Pulling in reservists, Syrians and mercenaries will not help Putin. It is a war where logistics is proving the limiter. More non specialized troops do not help. Syrian’s in particular will be wiped out by frost bite far more than bullets. In WW2 some of the greatest casualties in Russia were forces raised in the Balkans and in France where frost bite is rare. Less that half their casualties were combat wounds. Putin can’t pull expertise from anywhere.
    The Military was always the greatest threat to his rule. Its was marshal Georgy Zhukov that arrested Lavrentiy Beria in 1953. Competent hero generals are a threat to the FSB and Putin. Putin has carefully eradicated the threat of competent generals and now he needs them.

  3. wesley bruce

    March 25, 2022 at 4:39 pm

    Even if Putin escalates to nuclear weapons he has no guarantee that they will work. No guarantee that his forces will survive the fall out. No guarantee that Ukraine, already living in bunkers, has not prepared far better than any country before. Regardless of wind direction there is Russia or Russian allies, what few remain, down wind. He may have a few allies in Transnistria, Serbia, on the Turkish left, the Caucuses but none in power or bunkered down with a grasp of fall out procedures. If the wind is blowing north when Putin threatens to use nuclear weapons even Belorussia may go to war with Russia switching sides. Some one better placed than me needs to talk this up and get the point on the global radar. I’m just a lowly ex-army signaler.

  4. Jacksonian Libertarian

    March 25, 2022 at 5:12 pm

    It’s not stuck, it’s been repulsed, and is being cut off.

  5. Alex

    March 26, 2022 at 3:08 pm

    Every day I look at the map of hostilities in Ukraine. Every day, Russia destroys the equipment and living side of the enemy, moves forward and liberates the cities. Perhaps something else stuck in some heads?

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