On day 76 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Russian military continues to struggle in the Donbas, searching for a breakthrough that is not coming. The Ukrainian forces are putting up fierce resistance and they are being aided by modern artillery systems provided by the U.S. and the West.
A Failed Campaign
In its daily update on the war, the British Ministry of Defense focused on the way the Kremlin launched its invasion and how that has affected the ensuing campaign. Informed by the past, and specifically the invasion and annexation of Crimea in 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his military and intelligence advisers opted for a light and focused military operation.
“Russia’s underestimation of Ukrainian resistance and its ‘best case scenario’ planning have led to demonstrable operational failings, preventing President Putin from announcing significant military success in Ukraine at the 09 May Victory Day parade,” the British Military Intelligence assessed.
The primary goal of the Russian forces invading Ukraine was to topple the Ukrainian government without getting into protracted fighting inside urban centers. But when that plan failed, and the Ukrainian military and people showed how committed they were, the Russian operation started to unravel as units got ambushed left and right and suffered horrific casualties.
“Russia’s invasion plan is highly likely to have been based on the mistaken assumption that it would encounter limited resistance and would be able to encircle and bypass population centres rapidly. This assumption led Russian forces to attempt to carry out the opening phase of the operation with a light, precise approach intended to achieve a rapid victory with minimal cost. This miscalculation led to unsustainable losses and a subsequent reduction in Russia’s operational focus,” the British Military Intelligence stated.
The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Tuesday, Ukrainian forces have killed approximately 26,000 Russian troops (and wounded approximately thrice that number), destroyed 199 fighter, attack, and transport jets, 158 helicopters, 1,170 tanks, 519 artillery pieces, 2,808 armored personnel carriers, 185 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 12 boats and cutters, 1,980 vehicles and fuel tanks, 87 anti-aircraft batteries, 380 unmanned aerial systems, 41 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 94 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses.
U.S. Military Aid to Ukraine
The process of military aid to Ukraine continues. The White House signed a modern version of the Lend-Lease act to help Ukraine. The original Lend-Lease act was crucial in helping win the war against Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan during World War II.
Moreover, Congress has started deliberating on the military, economic, and humanitarian aid bill that President Joe Biden proposed last week. The package is now worth almost $40 billion, an increase of $7 billion from what Biden had originally requested.
Right now, the Pentagon has only approximately $100 million left in drawdown authority to provide Ukraine with weapons. The proposed new package would allow the Pentagon to send weapons from its own stockpiles and purchase weapon systems for Ukraine.
In a speech commemorating the Allied victory in World War Two, British Minister of Defense Ben Wallace chastised the Kremlin and its actions in Ukraine.
“Shame on those who seek to use the suffering of ordinary Russians as a launchpad for their own imperial ambitions. They are the ones who truly insult the memory of the Immortal Regiment,” the British Minister of Defense said referring to an unofficial Russian outfit in which the descendants and relatives of those wo fought in World War Two parade with commemorative plaques during the Victory Day parade on May 9.
According to the Ukrainian commissioner for Human Rights, Russia has forcibly relocated more than 1 million Ukrainians to Russia since the start of the invasion on February 24, 200,000 of which are children.
“So let’s call out the absurdity of Russian generals – resplendent in their manicured parade uniforms, weighed down by their gold braid and glistening medals. They are utterly complicit in Putin’s hijacking of their forebears’ proud history; of defending against a ruthless invasion; of repelling fascism; of sacrificing themselves for a higher purpose. And now, they are the ones inflicting needless suffering in the service of lowly gangsterism. And for them and for Putin there can be no ‘Victory Day’, only dishonour and surely defeat in Ukraine. They might seek to control Russians’ futures through their past but in the end the past catches up with you,” Wallace added.
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.