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Smart Bombs: Military, Defense and National Security

Russia Has a Problem: Its Military Is Stalled Nearly Everywhere in Ukraine

2S19 Msta S of the Ukrainian Army. Image Credit: Creative Commons/Ukraine Military.
2S19 Msta S of the Ukrainian Army.

On day 34 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Russian forces are still trying to capture Mariupol in the south but are being frustrated by the fierce Ukrainian resistance.

Peace talks between the two warring parties are underway in Turkey.

Ukraine Update: Besieged Mariupol and Stalemate 

Russian forces are far more cautious than in the first weeks of the war. Instead of putting tanks and mechanized infantry at the front, Russian commanders are using long-range fires to pulverize a target before sending in their troops. The Russian military has launched almost 1,400 ballistic and cruise missiles into Ukraine, according to the Pentagon.

The port city of Mariupol in the south is a prime example of this strategy. The city has been reduced to rubble.

“No changes in Mariupol. You’ve seen it for yourself, a lot of heavy fighting there still using—the Russians are still using long-range fires, but they have not been able to take Mariupol. And they’re both, you know, the Ukrainians are slugging it out in Mariupol and they are keeping the Russians at bay there so far,” a senior U.S. defense official said during a press briefing.

In its daily estimate of the war, the British Ministry of Defense assessed that the Russian advance has stalled on all fronts besides Mariupol.

“Ukrainian Forces have continued to conduct localised counter attacks to the north west of Kyiv – including at Irpen, Bucha and Hostomel. These attacks have had some success and the Russians have been pushed back from a number of positions. However, Russia still poses a significant threat to the city through their strike capability. Russian Forces have maintained their offensive on Mariupul with continuous heavy shelling of the city, however the centre of the city remains under Ukrainian control. Elsewhere, Russian Forces are maintaining blocking positions while attempting to reorganise and reset their forces,” the British Military Intelligence assessed.

The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Tuesday, Ukrainian forces have killed approximately 17,200 Russian troops (and wounded approximately thrice that number), destroyed 127 fighter, attack, and transport jets, 129 helicopters, 597 tanks, 303 artillery pieces, 1,710 armored personnel carriers, 96 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), seven boats, 1,178 vehicles, 73 fuel tanks, 55 anti-aircraft batteries, 71 unmanned aerial systems, 21 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems.

The Russian Assessment and Ukraine Peace Negotiations 

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Tuesday that the primary objective of the Russian military is the liberation of the Donbas. The Russian Defense Minister also claimed that his military forces have destroyed the Ukrainian Air Force and Ukrainian Navy. But U.S. and independent reports indicate that the former claim is false as Kyiv still retains a significant fixed-wing capability.

Meanwhile, peace negotiations are continuing in Turkey. One middle ground that has been circulating would allow Ukraine to join the European Union but not NATO.

The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense reported that the Russian invasion has thus far cost approximately $565 billion in destroyed infrastructure and lost growth.

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.