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Ukraine War Update, Day 107: Will Russia Conquer Donbas?

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

Ukraine War Update, Day 107: On day 107 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Russian military is still trying to achieve a breakthrough in the Donbas.

Severodonetsk and the Donbas 

In its daily estimate of the war, the British Ministry of Defense touched on the fighting in Severodonetsk and the Donbas.

“Fighting continues around Sieverodonetsk. Russia is again in control of most of the city, but its forces have made little progress in attempts to encircle the wider area from the north and south,” the British Military Intelligence assessed.

In its latest update on the war, the Institute for the Study of War assessed that the Russian military is in control of most of Severodonetsk.

“Russian forces continued to attack Ukrainian positions in Severodonetsk under the cover of heavy artillery fire on June 9. Ukrainian and Russian sources confirmed that Russian forces control all residential sectors of the city and that fighting is ongoing for the Azot industrial zone, where Ukrainian forces are embedded. Russian forces continued unsuccessful efforts to take control of Toshkivka to drive north toward Lysychansk and avoid crossing the Siverskyi Donets River from within Severodonetsk. Russian forces conducted heavy air and artillery strikes in and around Severodonetsk to support ground operations in the city,” the Institute for the Study of War stated.

Russian Casualties and Shortages 

The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Friday, Ukrainian forces have killed approximately 31,900 Russian troops (and wounded approximately thrice that number), destroyed 212 fighter, attack, and transport jets, 178 attack and transport helicopters, 1,409 tanks, 712 artillery pieces, 3,450 armored personnel carriers, 222 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 13 boats and cutters, 2,438 vehicles and fuel tanks, 97 anti-aircraft batteries, 572 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 54 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 125 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses.

“On Russian fatalities, our figure is between 15,000 and 20,000 dead. That is a change from our previous figure that we have been talking about in excess of 15,000 before,” a western official told the Evening Standard.

But as the official stressed, providing accurate numbers of Russian and Ukrainian casualties from thousands of miles away isn’t very precise. These are rough estimates based on open-source and classified intelligence. However, in many regards, especially in tank, infantry fighting vehicles, and armored personnel carriers, the Western assessments corroborate the Ukrainian claims.

And although the Russian military has been enjoying a significant long-range fires advantage (between 15-20 artillery pieces to every Ukrainian gun, and 40 artillery shells to every Ukrainian one), more than 100 days of war have taken their toll on Russian combat readiness and stores.

For example, since the start of the war, the Russian military has launched more than 2000 ballistic and cruise missiles against Ukraine. These are advanced munitions that can’t be mass-produced as easily as dump bombs that don’t require any advanced electronics.

“In terms of the munitions that we are talking about (running low), long-range precision missiles, advanced weapons, they take significant effort from a defence industrial complex to produce, and they are expensive. They are not necessarily running low on everything and of course some of the older munitions, and dumb bombs, they have very large reserves of and are using those in significant numbers as well,” the western official added.

Russian Fail As Occupiers 

The British Ministry of Defense also focused on the persistent failure of the Russian occupying forces to provide for the populations that they have “de-Nazified” and “liberated.”

“Russia is struggling to provide basic public services to the population in Russian-occupied territories. Access to safe drinking water has been inconsistent, while major disruption to telephone and internet services continues,” the British Ministry of Defense stated.

However, shortages of basic goods and communication are the least of the troubles for Ukrainian civilians under the Russian boot. Kherson and Mariupol are facing an imminent humanitarian crisis as medicines are scarce and cholera cases have been popping up.

“There is likely a critical shortage of medicines in Kherson, while Mariupol is at risk of a major cholera outbreak. Isolated cases of cholera have been reported since May. Ukraine suffered a major cholera epidemic in 1995, and has experienced minor outbreaks since, especially around the Azov Sea coast – which includes Mariupol. Medical services in Mariupol are likely already near collapse: a major cholera outbreak in Mariupol will exacerbate this further,” the British Military Intelligence 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 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.