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We Think We Know Why Russia Can’t Win the War in Ukraine

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

Russia’s  Losses in Ukraine Continue to Mount – Currently, the best possible outcome that Russian President Vladimir Putin could hope for would be a “ pyrrhic victory” one where the devastating toll on the victory is tantamount to a defeat. The Russian bear has resembled a paper tiger as the Kremlin has failed to meet its key objectives.

The situation is likely only going to get worse, as Russian forces have essentially run out of steam and morale is being described as low among ground forces. At least two Lt. Generals and five Major Generals have been killed since Putin launched the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine five weeks ago.

Upwards of 15,000 Russian troops, well in excess of 10 percent of the entire force, have been killed since the fighting began; while there are reports that as many as 400 Russian tanks  have also been destroyed.

“Most military observers and very senior American army generals believe that the Russian army reached a culminating point. A significant aspect of that is the losses that they’ve sustained,” Michael Ryan, former deputy assistant secretary of defense for European and NATO Policy told Fox News Digital.

That culminating point is when an army runs out of supplies and essentially reaches its limit.

“It also has a significant impact on morale, and I think the Russian military started with very low morale at this operation,” added Ryan.

Russia vs. Ukraine – First Social Media War

The Russian losses have been so great that some tracking the casualties via open-source reporting have suggested it is impossible to keep up. Yet dozens of individuals on social media have been trying to keep track of the losses on both sides. They’ve been compiling lists of tanks and vehicles destroyed from images posted to Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Telegram and Facebook, as well as videos that are also making the rounds.

Social media has been used to show the long columns of vehicles that made little progress in moving on Kyiv, and every day there are now dozens of images of burning tanks, abandoned supply trucks and even downed aircraft.

It is fair to suggest that he war in Ukraine could be the “ first social media war,” as individuals on the ground in the besieged nation are able to share real-time reports from the frontlines. That ability to post updates and share videos could help ensure that the first casualty of this war isn’t the truth.

Sites like Oryx Blog, run by military analysts Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans, are compiling the losses posted to social media. However, the numbers are so great and so much information is coming in – some of which could be misrepresented or presented out of context – Mitzer told the UK-based Independent that he has a hard time keeping up.

“I should probably start a list with types of equipment that haven’t been captured yet. It’s the only list that will decrease over time,” the pair tweeted earlier this week.

Keeping track of Russia’s losses is also helping some analysts determine what Moscow’s next moves could be.

“At a certain point the losses become so significant that it affects their ability to operate,” explained Rob Lee, senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, and former United States Marine. Lee who has been tracking the videos, told the Independent that those losses could be a portent to the future of the war.

“When you can see there is a division’s worth of equipment being lost, or multiple regiments, in one area, the overall operation is going to suffer,” Lee added. “It tells you their ability to do certain things offensively in the future is pretty limited, because they probably don’t have the numbers.”

If the goal of this invasion was actually to “demilitarize” Ukraine it has certainly failed, and Russia could now be the one that is forever weakened.

Now a Senior Editor for 1945, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers and websites. He regularly writes about military hardware, and is the author of several books on military headgear including A Gallery of Military Headdress, which is available on Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes.

Written By

Expert Biography: A Senior Editor for 1945, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,000 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.