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Russia’s Military Can’t Win in Ukraine. The New Plan: Kill Civilians Instead?

Image of Javelin anti-tank weapon. Image Credit: US Department of Defense.

On day 11 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Russian forces continue to struggle with their objectives as their logistical woes grow. Indiscriminate Russian indirect fire is causing scores of civilian casualties.

Ukrainian resistance continues to remain fierce all across Ukraine, and the Russian advance has halted despite the fact that Moscow has committed 95 percent of its prepositioned forces to the invasion.

Supply Woes 

From the start, the Russian military has suffered from resupply issues. Once the Russian battalion tactical groups went beyond their initial “supply umbrellas,” their advance started to stall.

Recognizing their enemy’s supply issues, the Ukrainian military is targeting Russian supply convoys. The amount of destruction is hard to believe. For example, in a supply convoy that got ambushed outside of Kharkiv, more than 20 Russian supply trucks and armored personnel carriers were destroyed. The logistical troubles of the Russian military as so big that Moscow is conscripting civilian trucks of all sizes for all across Russia to help transfer food, fuel, and ammunition to the front lines.

The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Sunday, Ukrainian forces have killed, wounded, or captured approximately 11,000 Russian troops, destroyed 44 fighter, attack, and transport jets, 48 helicopters, 285 tanks, 109 artillery pieces, 985 armored personnel carriers, 50 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), two boats, 447 cars, 60 fuel tanks, 21 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.

In the crucial air space, the war is still undecided despite the vast numerical and qualitative (at least on paper) advantage of the Russian Aerospace Force.

“In the airspace, we continue to observe that the airspace over Ukraine is contested. Ukrainian air and missile defenses remain effective and in use. The Ukrainian military continues to fly aircraft and to employ air defense assets. Both sides have taken losses to both aircraft and missile defense inventories,” senior U.S. defense official says. “We are not going to speak to numbers. We assess that both sides still possess a majority of their air defense systems and capabilities,” a senior U.S. defense official said on Sunday.

Mariupol and Civilian Casualties 

Russian forces have surrounded Mariupol in the South and are trying to capture it. Despite agreements between Russia and Ukraine on the second round of negotiations for evacuation corridors for civilians, Russian forces continue to fire indiscriminately. As a result, civilian casualties are mounting all across Ukraine.

As of Sunday, Russia has launched approximately 600 short- and mid-range ballistic missiles into Ukraine.

On Monday morning, Russia announced a third local ceasefire to allow civilians to escape major urban hubs, such as Kyiv, Mariupol, Kharkiv, and Sumy. However, the last two ceasefires failed because Russian troops opened fire on the humanitarian corridors.

Despite his losses and the high humanitarian cost, Russian President Vladimir Putin insists that his campaign is going according to plan and once more called for Ukraine to surrender.

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.