A Halt on Major Offensive Operations in Ukraine
The pause in the Russian military’s large-scale offensive operations on the theater has left the Donbas relatively quiet in the past 24 hours.
In its daily estimate of the war, the British Ministry of Defense touched on the relatively quiet Donbas but also covered the force generation woes of the Russian military.
To be sure, the Russian military continued to launch long-range fires on the Ukrainian positions and tried to gain some ground in the Donetsk province, but the offensives had a limited scope and were intended to either harass the Ukrainian forces and prevent them from relaxing or to probe their positions in search of weak spots that could be exploited once the large-scale offensive recommenced.
“Russian troops continue to make small incremental territorial gains in Donetsk oblast with Russia claiming to have seized control of the town of Hryhorivka,” the British Military Intelligence assessed.
“Russian forces also continue their assault along the E-40 main supply route towards the cities of Slovyansk and Kramatorsk. Russian forces are likely maintaining military pressure on Ukrainian forces whilst regrouping and reconstituting for further offensives in the near future,” the British Ministry of Defense added.
Meanwhile, the Russian military continues to struggle to find men to send to the frontlines. Without a declaration of war on Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “special military operation” is forced to rely on the professional Russian military, that ranks of which have depleted considerably after almost five months of conventional warfare, conscripts, which carry lots of political baggage with them and are tricky to employ freely in combat, volunteers, and private military contractors of mercenaries. The Russian military has been increasingly relying on the last categories to make up for the losses it is suffering.
“Russian Armed Forces’ personnel shortages may be forcing the Russian MOD to turn to non-traditional recruitment. This includes recruiting personnel from Russian prisons for the Wagner Private Military Company. If true, this move likely indicates difficulties in replacing the significant numbers of Russian casualties,” the British Military Intelligence assessed.
Russian Casualties in Ukraine
In terms of casualties, the last 24 hours were some of the slowest in the war so far. The Ukrainian military claimed that it killed only 70 Russian troops and destroyed four tanks, one armored personnel carrier or infantry fighting vehicles, and three vehicles and fuel tanks.
The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Tuesday, Ukrainian forces have killed approximately 37,470 Russian troops (and wounded approximately thrice that number), destroyed 217 fighter, attack, and transport jets, 188 attack and transport helicopters, 1,649 tanks, 838 artillery pieces, 3,829 armored personnel carriers, 247 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 15 boats and cutters, 2,699 vehicles and fuel tanks, 109 anti-aircraft batteries, 676 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 66 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 155 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses.
Russian War Crimes in Ukraine
On Sunday, the Russian military launched a strike against Chasiv Yar, a small Ukrainian town west of Bakhmut in the Donbas and close to the frontlines. The Russian munitions struck a housing block. Thus far, the Ukrainian emergency services have pulled out from the rubbles 34 dead civilians and the figure is expected to rise as they are several more unaccounted for. The attack on Chasiv Yar is yet another example of the indiscriminate use of long-range fires by the Russian military. Indeed, it seems that for Russian commanders, accuracy means that the target is within the zip code of where the munition strikes.
“Russia’s Defence Ministry claims their forces ‘have an exceptionally humane attitude towards the civilian population and do not strike at civilian infrastructure.’ The attack in Chasiv Yar killing 34+ innocent people shows the brutal truth behind its campaign of lies,” the British Ministry of Defense stated.
According to the United Nations Human Rights Office, there have been 4,889 confirmed civilian deaths since the start of the invasion on February 24. However, this is only the number that could be confirmed and, in all likelihood, the actual civilian casualties are much higher.
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.