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Smart Bombs: Military, Defense and National Security

We Think We Know Why Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine Has Stopped

Ukraine Russia
Ukrainian tank firing. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

Ukraine is holding its own: On Day 23 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Russian advance has largely stopped on all fronts. More than three weeks into the invasion and stiff Ukrainian resistance and the seemingly never-ending Russian supply issues have prevented Russian forces from achieving their primary objectives. 

Stalled Advance in Ukraine

Over the past week, the Russian advance was stalling, a result of extremely poor logistical arrangements and stiff Ukrainian resistance. But in the last 24 hours, there has been almost no progress at all. 

“[The] Ukrainians are putting a lot of effort into defending Kyiv as you would expect them to do. [The] Ukrainians are the reason why [the Russians] haven’t been able to move forward. And it’s because they’re very actively resisting any movement by the Russians,” a senior U.S. defense official said on Thursday. 

According to the British Ministry of Defense, the perpetual logistical woes of the Russian military continue to beset the faltering Russian invasion.

Russian commanders are also reluctant or incapable of cross-country maneuvering, and, as a result, they are restricted on roads, making the life of the Ukrainian defenders that much easier.

The Ukrainian land is also fighting the invaders.

Melting snow is giving way to bogs of mud that can stop even the most advanced tanks and infantry fighting vehicles. 

Indeed, the supply problems of the invading Russian forces are so serious that frontline units lack basic essentials, such as food, ammunition, and fuel.

“Russian forces have made minimal progress this week. . . Incessant Ukrainian counterattacks are forcing Russia to divert large number of troops to defend their own supply lines. This is severely limiting Russia’s offensive potential. . .Ukrainian forces around Kyiv and Mykolaiv continue to frustrate Russian attempts to encircle the cities. The cities of Kharkiv, Chernihiv, Sumy and Mariupol remain encircled and subject to heavy Russian shelling. The UN now states that the number of refugees fleeing the conflict in Ukraine has already surpassed 3.2 million. This number will continue to rise as a result of ongoing Russian aggression,” the British Ministry of Defense stated

The war hasn’t reached a stalemate yet. Rather, Russian progress is met by a stiff Ukrainian resistance on all fronts. But the Russian military still has long-range fires that could help the Russian advance.

Thousands of Casualties in Ukraine

The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Friday, Ukrainian forces have killed approximately 14,200 Russian troops (and approximately thrice that number wounded), destroyed 93 fighter, attack, and transport jets, 112 helicopters, 450 tanks, 205 artillery pieces, 1,448 armored personnel carriers, 72 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), three boats, 879 vehicles, 60 fuel tanks, 43 anti-aircraft batteries, and 12 unmanned aerial systems. 

Over the last few days, the official Ukrainian numbers of Russian casualties have slowed considerably, in line with Western assessments of a stalling Russian advance on all fronts. This fact alone gives a certain level of credibility to the Ukrainian claims—if Kyiv’s reports of Russian casualties didn’t reflect the pace of war as reported by the West or other independent sources, then that would be a red flag with respect to the veracity of the Ukrainian claims. In short, a stalled Russian advance means fewer casualties, and the official Ukrainian claims reflect that.

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.