Losing Men Left And Right
On Wednesday night, the Ukrainian military struck the Russian Black Sea flagship missile cruiser Moskva with a Neptune anti-ship missile, badly damaging the Russian vessel (Ukraine claims it was sunk but that’s unconfirmed yet). With a crew of over 500 men, the Moskva could mark the biggest single loss of life in the war so far, depending on final causality numbers.
The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Thursday, Ukrainian forces have killed approximately 19,900 Russian troops (and wounded approximately thrice that number), destroyed 160 fighter, attack, and transport jets, 144 helicopters, 753 tanks, 366 artillery pieces, 1,968 armored personnel carriers, 122 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), seven boats, 1,437 vehicles, 76 fuel tanks, 64 anti-aircraft batteries, 134 unmanned aerial systems, 25 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems.
A New General
After almost two months of war, the Kremlin appointed a general to lead the invasion of Ukraine. General Alexander Dvornikov, until recently the commander of the southern military district, is now in charge of the war effort.
“Russia’s appointment of Army General Alexander Dvornikov as commander of the war in Ukraine represents an attempt to centralise command and control. An inability to cohere and coordinate military activity has hampered Russia’s invasion to date. Like many senior Russian Generals, Dvornikov has previous command experience in Syria. Furthermore, since 2016 he has commanded Russia’s Southern Military District bordering Ukraine’s Donbas region,” the British Military Intelligence assessed.
“Russian messaging has recently emphasised progressing offensives in the Donbas as Russia’s forces refocus eastwards. Dvornikov’s selection further demonstrates how determined Ukrainian resistance and ineffective pre-war planning have forced Russia to reassess its operations,” the British Military Intelligence added.
More Weapons to Ukraine
Western countries continue to pour weapons into Ukraine to help the Ukrainian military in its defense. Last week, the U.K. announced another package of military aid with hundreds of armored vehicles, anti-tank missiles, and anti-aircraft weapons.
Now, France will be sending additional military aid worth $130 million. The package will include Milan anti-tank weapons, Mistral man-portable surface-to-air missiles, and ongoing access to French satellite imagery.
“Now is no time for complacency. The Russian military may have failed in its objective of capturing Kyiv, but it continues to inflict horrific acts of brutality on the Ukrainian people. As the Russian military repositions for the next phase of this war, I have directed my Administration to continue to spare no effort to identify and provide to the Ukrainian military the advanced weapons capabilities it needs to defend its country,” President Joe Biden had said recently.
The U.S. will be sending an additional $800 million in military aid to Ukraine, and the Pentagon is also matching Ukraine with American weapon manufacturers so that Kyiv can tailor its requests.
“I would hasten to add that we are going to expedite that contracting process as fast as we can. I don’t have exact delivery dates for you, or procurement dates today. But rest assured we’re going to be moving at as fast as we can. The U.S. also continues to work with its allies and partners to identify and provide to the Ukrainians additional capabilities. And we’ll certainly utilize all available tools to support Ukraine’s armed forces as they fight bravely for the defense of their country,” Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby said in a press briefing.
But it is crucial that Western countries continue to supply Ukraine with weapons, especially if Kyiv starts counterattacking in eastern Ukraine. Despite its defensive successes, the Ukrainian military is facing a brutal fight in the east.
The White House indicated that the sanctions against Russia aren’t over. Thus far, the U.S. and its European allies have imposed five waves of sanctions on Moscow. But in a recent communication between Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the U.S. president suggested that more sanctions are on the way.
“President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. spoke . . .with Prime Minister Boris Johnson of the United Kingdom about the Prime Minister’s recent visit to Ukraine. The leaders affirmed their commitment to continue providing security and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine in the face of ongoing atrocities by Russia. They also welcomed ongoing cooperation with allies and partners to impose severe costs on Russia for its unprovoked and unjustified war,” the White House said in a press statement.
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 Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP.