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Putin’s Ukraine War Fail: The Ukrainian Military Is At the Russian Border

Image Credit: Creative Commons.
Russian artillery firing. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

Putin has Ukraine’s military on his borders: On day 82 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Ukrainian military has been pushing back hard at the Russian forces in eastern Ukraine. Ukrainian troops advancing from Kharkiv have reached the Russian borders.

The last Ukrainian defenders of Mariupol are still holding on in the Azovstal steelworks plant.

Ukrainian Counterattacks, Russian Casualties 

In a sign of how badly the war is going for the Kremlin, on Monday, Ukraine’s forces from Kharkiv reached the Russian border. The remaining Russian forces in the area are expected to withdraw back to Russia.

Ukraine’s advances are highly likely to frustrate the renewed Russian offensive further south. In particular, Izium, which is located to the south of Kharkiv, has seen heavy fighting over the past few days as the Ukrainians are attempting to dislodge the Russian forces from the key city.

Meanwhile, the high and unsustainable rate of Russian casualties continues in Ukriane.

The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Monday, Ukrainian forces have killed approximately 27,700 Russian troops (and wounded approximately thrice that number), destroyed 200 fighter, attack, and transport jets, 165 helicopters, 1,228 tanks, 577 artillery pieces, 2,974 armored personnel carriers, 195 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 13 boats and cutters, 2,101 vehicles and fuel tanks, 89 anti-aircraft batteries, 427 unmanned aerial systems, 42 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 97 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses.

Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine

In its daily estimate of the war, the British Ministry of Defense focused on Belarus. In the past couple of weeks, the Belarussian military has launched major military exercises close to Ukraine.

“Following exercise activity earlier this month, Belarus has announced the deployment of special operations forces along the Ukraine border, as well as air defence, artillery and missile units to training ranges in the west of the country. The presence of Belarusian forces near the border will likely fix Ukrainian troops, so they cannot deploy in support of operations in the Donbas. Despite early speculation, to date Belarusian forces have not been directly involved in the conflict,” the British Military Intelligence assessed.

One of Russia’s closest allies, Belarus borders Ukraine on the north and was used as a staging ground for the Russian axis of advance toward Kyiv and Chernihiv during the first phase of the invasion. Belarus, however, hasn’t participated directly in the conflict, and Belarussian leader Alexander Lukashenko has been trying to balance his support of Moscow with the desire to stay out of the conflict—and more U.S. and NATO sanctions.

“However, Belarusian territory was used as a staging post for Russia’s initial advance on Kyiv and Chernihiv. Russia has also launched air sorties and missile strikes from Belarus. Belarusian President Lukashenko is likely balancing support for Russia’s invasion with a desire to avoid direct military participation with the risk of Western sanctions, Ukrainian retaliation and possible dissatisfaction in the Belarusian military,” the British Ministry of Defense added.

The Ukraine War Means Finland Joins NATO

Finland has officially approached NATO for a membership in the transatlantic military alliance. On Saturday, Finnish President Sauli Niinistö spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin about Finland’s decision to apply for a NATO membership.

“President Niinistö noted that he had told President Putin already in their first meeting in 2012 that every independent nation maximizes its security. This is what is happening now, too. By joining NATO Finland strengthens its own security and assumes its responsibility. It is not away from anyone else. Also in the future, Finland wants to take care of the practical questions arising from being a neighbour of Russia in a correct and professional manner,” the Finnish office of the president stated.

Niinistö later said that “the conversation was direct and straight-forward and it was conducted without aggravations. Avoiding tensions was considered important.”

The Swedish government is expected to follow suit and apply for a NATO membership soon.

On Monday, Putin said that Moscow has no issue with Finland and Sweden and that a potential Finnish and Swedish membership in NATO will not pose a direct threat to Russia. However, he did state that an expansion of NATO military infrastructure in the two Scandinavian countries would trigger a Russian response, avoiding painting what such a response might be.

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.