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Putin Has Lost 30,500 Troops and 1,358 Tanks in Ukraine

War in Ukraine
Image Credit: Creative Commons.

Here is your Ukraine War Update for Today, 5/31/2022: On day 97 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Russian military is making slow and deliberate advances in the Donbas but has failed to achieve any significant gains so far. However, this might change in the near future as Russian forces have entered the key city of Severodonetsk.

Heaving Fighting In and Around Severodonetsk 

Russian forces have continued with ground assaults in and around the city and are reportedly in control of the northeast and southeast suburbs of Severodonetsk and continue to push the Ukrainian forces further back.

In its daily estimate of the war, the British Ministry of Defense focused on the situation in and around the key Ukrainian city of Severodonetsk.

“Russia’s capture of Lyman supports its operational main effort, which likely remains the encirclement of Sieverodonetsk and the closure of the pocket around Ukrainian forces in Luhansk Oblast. Heavy shelling continues, while street fighting is likely taking place on the outskirts of Sieverodonetsk town,” the British Military Intelligence assessed.

In addition to attacking the city with frontal assaults, the Russian forces are trying a wider encirclement in the rear from the Izium and Lyman direction in the north and the Bachmut direction in the south.

“Elements of Russia’s Southern Grouping of Forces are likely leading the most successful axis in the sector, supported by the Central Grouping of Forces attacking from the North. Progress has been slow but gains are being held. Routes into the pocket likely remain under Ukrainian control. Russia has achieved greater local successes than earlier in the campaign by massing forces and fires in a relatively small area. This forces Russia to accept risk elsewhere in occupied territory,” the British Ministry of Defense stated.

However, the Russian forces have yet failed to pull off such large-scale encirclement and are likely lacking the maneuver warfare capabilities to do so. Thus, the incremental assaults in the north and south of Severodonetsk are attempts to distract the Ukrainian defenses and the flow of supplies and reinforcements.

“Russian forces are reportedly transferring large quantities of personnel and equipment to the area to strengthen operations against Severodonetsk. A Russian Telegram channel claimed that Russian forces control the entire southern bank of the Siverskyi Donets River, except for the part of the river than runs through Severodonetsk ISW cannot independently confirm this claim, though it is consistent with previous reporting on persistent, incremental Russian advances in and around the Severodonetsk-Lysychansk area,” the Institute for the Study of War assessed.

Russian Domestic Discontent 

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s and the Kremlin’s “special military operation” in Ukraine continues to attract criticism from within Russia too. But instead of an outrage for the illegal and unprovoked nature of the invasion and the war crimes and atrocities committed, most of the domestic Russian outrage centers around military failures and increasingly more “humble” objectives.

“The Kremlin has repeatedly revised its objectives for the war in Ukraine downwards due to battlefield failures. The Kremlin is increasingly facing discontent not from Russians opposed to the war as a whole, but military and nationalist figures angry at Russian losses and frustrated with shifting Kremlin framing of the war. Russian officials are increasingly unable to employ the same ideological justifications for the invasion in the face of clear setbacks, and a lack of concrete military gains within Ukraine will continue to foment domestic dissatisfaction with the war,” the Institute for the Study of War stated.

“Russia’s political goal is likely to occupy the full territory of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts. To achieve this, Russia will need to secure further challenging operational objectives beyond Sieverodonetsk, including the key city of Kramatorsk and the M04 Dnipro-Donetsk main road,” the British Military Intelligence assessed.

Meanwhile, the rate of Russian casualties remains to be high, although it has slowed down over the past few days. The Russian materiel losses, in particular, are unsustainable. According to the Pentagon, the Ukrainians have destroyed more than 1,000 tanks alone (and the Ukrainian military is claiming more).

The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Tuesday, Ukrainian forces have killed approximately 30,500  Russian troops (and wounded approximately thrice that number), destroyed 208 fighter, attack, and transport jets, 174 attack and transport helicopters, 1,358 tanks, 649 artillery pieces, 3,302 armored personnel carriers, 205 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 13 boats and cutters, 2,275 vehicles and fuel tanks, 93 anti-aircraft batteries, 515 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 48 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 120 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses.

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.