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Putin’s Has a Problem: His ‘Victory’ in Donbas Came at a High Price

Putin Russia
Russian President Putin testing a new sniper rifle. Image Credit: Russian State Media.

On day 123 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Russian military has finally captured Severodonetsk and is now pushing hard on Lysychansk, the Ukrainian city right next door.

On Friday, the Ukrainian military started an orderly withdrawal from Severodonetsk after weeks of fighting.

The Day After Severodonetsk

The Russian military is now in control of Severodonetsk after weeks of fierce fighting between the two sides. Now, the Russian forces are pushing toward Lysychansk and have reached the outskirts of the city.

In its daily estimate of the war, the British Ministry of Defence focused on the Russian capture of Severodonetsk and how it falls into the Kremlin’s larger plan for the war in Ukraine.

“Most Ukrainian forces have likely withdrawn from their remaining defensive positions in the Donbas city of Sieverodonetsk. In April 2022, Russia revised its immediate campaign plan from aiming to occupy the majority of Ukraine, to a more focused offensive in the Donbas,” the British Military Intelligence assessed.

Initially, Moscow went to war with two main objectives in mind: first, topple and replace the Ukrainian government with a puppet regime that would be amenable to the Kremlin’s bid; and second, capture large chunks of Ukraine, including the industrial areas that are located primarily in the southeast of the country.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Kremlin advisers thought that their “special military operation” would last anywhere from 72 hours to a couple of weeks maximum. Evidently, things did not go according to plan. Ukrainian resistance and commitment to repel the invaders were far stronger than expected.

As a result, Moscow’s goals had to be narrowed to eastern and southern Ukraine, where most of the fighting is now taking place. The capture of Severodonetsk is an important step to the overall Russian plan in the region but the cost in men, hardware, and time was too high to be replicated repeatedly against other Ukrainian cities.

“Russia’s capture of the city is a significant achievement within this reduced objective. The settlement was a major industrial centre and it occupies a strategic position on the Siverskyi Donets River,” the British Ministry of Defense added.

“However, it is only one of several challenging objectives Russia will need to achieve to occupy the whole of the Donbas region. These include advancing on the major centre of Kramatorsk and securing the main supply routes to Donetsk city,” the British Military Intelligence stated.

Russian Casualties 

The Russian military continues to suffer heavy casualties in Ukraine.

The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Sunday, Ukrainian forces have killed approximately 34,850 Russian troops (and wounded approximately thrice that number), destroyed 217 fighter, attack, and transport jets, 184 attack and transport helicopters, 1,532 tanks, 764 artillery pieces, 3,659 armored personnel carriers, 243 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 14 boats and cutters, 2,564 vehicles and fuel tanks, 99 anti-aircraft batteries, 630 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 60 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 139 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.



  1. Tokyo Woes

    June 26, 2022 at 12:06 pm

    The flower of victory must come at a cost of patriot blood watering the triumphant soil of vanquished foe. May the God of our fathers bless our noble task of freedom! – Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson

    • John W Burrows

      June 26, 2022 at 1:00 pm

      All that spilled blood didn’t help the Confederacy except to prolong the carnage. Hope things go better for Ukraine.

    • Ray Shewmaker

      June 26, 2022 at 1:25 pm

      I find Putin’s threats & Postering similar to that of a (5) Five year old caught with his hand in a cookie jar. His threats have less and less credence with each passing day. His Forces in Ukraine are stretched to beyond their Max. They have basically become trapped,and now are great TARGETS.??⚓?

  2. RepublicansLovePutin&hateAmerica

    June 26, 2022 at 1:22 pm

    Fighting like a bunch of European dark age chimps with muskets and armor carriages isn’t much of a victory.

  3. StarPass

    June 26, 2022 at 3:18 pm

    Ukraine nowhere near killed or destroyed that many enemies. Their press releases read like those imaginary battles Japan fought when they were lying to keep up public morale in WW2. As for the Russnucks, they perfected lying.

  4. speedster

    June 26, 2022 at 5:26 pm

    Using multiple of three times deaths for number of wounded, Russian deaths and wounded 139,000. Original Russian invasion force was 140,000, so effectively almost the entire original invasion force is dead or wounded. Putin being desperate because his original plan had failed, has infused an additional 82,000 Russian troops into ukraine. The Russian army before the invasion was 280,000, so Putin used 50% of his military to invade Ukraine.
    The 82,000 additional troops represented 30%, so the remaining Russian military in Russia proper is 20%. How Russia proposed to guard it’s seriously longer border with a skeleton force of 20%, seems strange.

  5. aldol11

    June 26, 2022 at 8:07 pm

    i’d be surprised if, by the end of august (6 months of war) russia were not on the defensive across all fronts

    • Fluffy Dog

      June 26, 2022 at 8:41 pm

      That is very likely. Russians had run out of well-trained professional personnel and are now mixing fresh recruits, practically untrained, with the professionals even in the elite units like VDV (paras).

      The problem is that Ukrainians are also exhausted by the fighting. They are getting the needed heavy equipment, but do they have the personnel to use it?

      • marcjf

        June 27, 2022 at 8:53 am

        I was recently told by someone who ought to be in a position to know that Russian rifleman were being given a week of training only. Mind you he also said that the Ukrainian equivalent was only 3 weeks. Basically, if this information is accurate, civilians with rifles are being killed on both sides in this battle.

    • mcswell

      June 27, 2022 at 10:44 pm

      And they’re now on their third general in overall charge, if I’m counting right. Of course Abraham Lincoln went through more, so it’s not clear Putin is running out.

  6. marcjf

    June 27, 2022 at 8:49 am

    The “orderly withdrawal” from Severdonetsk was into Lysachansk next door, a city nearly cut off by the Russian advance from the south and supplied by one major road. There are reports that Russians are some 2 km from the road, but no one disputes it is under fire from artillery and air forces. Another report claimed that the Ukrainians tried to withdraw down this road but were unable to. We shall see, but my reading of the situation is that there are about 5+ weakened battalions of troops still cut off in this sector, with another 4 or so unaccounted for – the Russians are claiming they were surrounded south of Severosonetsk and – being out of ammo and cut off- actually surrendered. Given Russian fire superiority and looking at a map, this overall analysis seems plausible if not more likely than the account given by the Ukraininans. Anyway, the first casualty of war is the truth,but no doubt the reality of the situation will come out in the end.

  7. marcjf

    June 27, 2022 at 8:54 am

    Any reason my other comment has vanished?

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