Ukraine War Update: On day 108 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Russian military is still looking for a breakthrough in the Donbas, more than a month after Moscow launched its renewed offensive in eastern Ukraine.
Fighting in the Donbas
Most of the fighting is still concentrated in and around Severodonetsk as both sides are trying to prevail in the key Ukrainian city.
In its daily estimate of the war, the British Ministry of Defense focused on the fighting in Severodonetsk but also on the Russian shortages of advanced precision-guided munitions and how Moscow is trying to compensate for that.
“As of 10 June, Russian forces around Sieverodonetsk have not made advances into the south of the city. Intense street-to-street fighting is ongoing and both sides are likely suffering high numbers of casualties. Russia is massing fires with its artillery and air capabilities, in an attempt to overwhelm Ukrainian defences,” the British Military Intelligence assessed.
“Since April, Russian medium bombers have likely launched dozens of 1960s era Kh-22 (NATO designation, AS-4 KITCHEN) air-launched, heavy anti-ship missiles against land targets. These 5.5 tonne missiles were primarily designed to destroy aircraft carriers using a nuclear warhead. When employed in a ground attack role with a conventional warhead they are highly inaccurate and can therefore cause significant collateral damage and civilian casualties. Russia is likely resorting to such inefficient weapon systems because it is running short of more precise modern missiles, while Ukrainian air defences still deter its tactical aircraft from conducting strikes across much of the country,” the British Ministry of Defense stated.
Ukraine – We Need More Weapons
Over the past few days, Ukrainian officials have repeatedly gone public with requests for more weapons and ammunition. The fighting in the Donbas right now is predominantly one of long-range fires. Artillery is the king of the battle, and he reigns supreme over the fields and rivers of the Donbas. The Russian military enjoys a literally devasting long-range fires advantage, which in some sectors dwarfs the Ukrainian capabilities 20 to 1 in artillery pieces and 40 to 1 in ammunition. In short, the Russian forces can fire more weapons for longer periods of time.
“Deputy Head of the Ukrainian Main Intelligence Directorate (GUR) Vadym Skibitsky stated that Russian troops possess 10 to 15 artillery pieces to every one Ukrainian artillery piece and that Ukrainian forces have almost completely exhausted their artillery ammunition. Considering the current prevalence of protracted positional battles, especially in the Severodonetsk-Lysychansk area, Ukrainian forces urgently need fresh supplies of artillery systems. As Ukrainian forces use the last of their stocks of Soviet-era weapon systems and munitions, they will require consistent Western support to transition to new supply chains of ammunition and key artillery systems. Effective artillery will be increasingly decisive in the largely static fighting in eastern Ukraine,” the Institute for the Study of War assessed.
Russian Casualties in Ukraine Keep Growing
The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Saturday, Ukraine’s forces have killed approximately 32,050 Russian troops (and wounded approximately thrice that number), destroyed 212 fighter, attack, and transport jets, 178 attack and transport helicopters, 1,419 tanks, 711 artillery pieces, 3,466 armored personnel carriers, 213 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 13 boats and cutters, 2,448 vehicles and fuel tanks, 96 anti-aircraft batteries, 579 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 53 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.
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.