Russia’s Ukraine Problem Is Getting Worse By the Second – The Russian military has been taking horrendous casualties in men and equipment during its invasion of Ukraine. Since the beginning of the war, photos and videos have abounded, showing scores of Russian armored vehicles and aircraft destroyed or abandoned.
In the latest intelligence assessment by the UK Defense Ministry, they have spelled out exactly how badly the Russian forces are losing personnel. Russia has likely lost 30 percent of its ground combat forces in Ukraine, and their renewed offensive in the Donbas has lost momentum.
According to the Defense Ministry, the Russian military “has now likely suffered losses of one-third of the ground combat force it committed in February,” in their latest intelligence update.
Russian Offensive in Donbas Losing Momentum
“Russian forces are increasingly constrained by degraded enabling capabilities, continued low morale, and reduced combat effectiveness,” the ministry posted on its Twitter account, adding that since the renewed offensive in the Donbas, they have not made any significant advances at all.
“Russia’s Donbas offensive has lost momentum and fallen significantly behind schedule,” the report added. “Despite small-scale initial advances, Russia has failed to achieve substantial territorial gains over the past month whilst sustaining consistently high levels of attrition.”
After attempts to capture Kyiv and Kharkiv failed, the Russians have been withdrawing their troops to re-arm and reorganize their battalion tactical groups to concentrate on their offensive in the Donbas, an area comprising the Luhansk and Donetsk regions that were controlled in part by Russian-backed separatists.
They initially deployed 100 of the battalion tactical groups toward the invasion. Each of those typically consists of 700 to 1,000 troops. And now, many of these are very understrength, rendering several combat units ineffective.
Ukrainian Counterattacks North and East of Kharkiv
Ukrainian forces are counter-attacking in the Kharkiv region, trying to cut the Russian supply routes and lines of communication. Kharkiv is very near the Russian border and only 50 miles from the city of Belgorod.
The UK intelligence estimates that these combat losses will get worse as the stalemated fighting continues in the hotly contested eastern area of Ukraine.
“These delays will almost certainly be exacerbated by the loss of critical enablers such as bridging equipment and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance drones,” the UK government said. “Russian bridging equipment has been in short supply throughout the conflict, slowing and restricting offensive maneuvers.”
The fighting along the Siversky Donets River near the city of Severodonetsk has been bloody and fierce. The Russians tried three times to force a crossing of the river having armored forces and engineer units laying pontoon bridges, but those were all repulsed with heavy losses. The Ukrainians claimed that they wiped out a Russian battalion in the fighting.
NATO Chief: “Ukraine Can Win This War”
Speaking to the media from Brussels, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said that Ukraine can win its war against Russia, citing their failure to take Kyiv and Kharkiv and the stalemate ongoing in Luhansk and Donetsk.
He also added that the addition of Finland and Sweden to NATO would make the countries and the alliance safer. He said the alliance would look to speed up the process of admitting them to NATO, and the alliance will beef up its presence in Eastern Europe.
Steve Balestrieri is a 1945 National Security Columnist. He has served as a US Army Special Forces NCO, and Warrant Officer before injuries forced his early separation. In addition to writing for 19fortyfive.com and for another military news organization, he has covered the NFL for PatsFans.com for more than 10 years. His work was regularly featured in the Millbury-Sutton Chronicle and Grafton News newspapers in Massachusetts.