In its daily estimate of the war, the British Ministry of Defense briefly touched on the Russian military’s lack of progress in eastern Ukraine.
The Russian military has failed to achieve anything of significance in eastern Ukraine since the end of the operational pause about a week ago. There are a couple of possible explanations for the lack of Russian progress.
First, the Russian military is simply running out of steam after five months of brutal fighting. This explanation is even credible if the lack of preparedness of the Russian military is taken into account. A war that was supposed to last two weeks at the most, has dragged on for 20.
Second, the Ukrainians are using the weapons systems they have received, particularly the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) and M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS), to great effect, targeting and taking out the Russian ammunition depots and logistical hubs that fuel the Russian war machine.
Annexations in Ukraine?
But the British Ministry of Defense mainly focused on the statements of senior Russian officials with respect to possible future annexations.
“On 20 July 2022, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said that Russia had expanded the scope of its ‘special military operation’ beyond the self-declared Luhansk and Donetsk People’s Republics. Lavrov claimed that the operation now included new additional areas, including the Ukrainian regions of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia, as a result of Western countries supplying longer range weapons to Ukraine,” the British Ministry of Defense stated.
“This is almost certainly not true. Russia has not ‘expanded’ its war; maintaining long-term control of these areas was almost certainly an original goal of the invasion. Russia invaded these areas in February and the occupation authorities have been publicly discussing the prospects for legal independent referendums since at least mid-March,” the British Ministry of Defense added.
“There is a realistic possibility that Lavrov made the comments to pave the way for referenda to take place in occupied territories beyond Luhansk and Donetsk,” the British Military Intelligence assessed.
Russian Casualties in Ukraine
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 39,520 Russian troops (and wounded approximately thrice that number), destroyed 221 fighter, attack, and transport jets, 188 attack and transport helicopters, 1,722 tanks, 869 artillery pieces, 3,942 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, 255 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 15 boats and cutters, 2,823 vehicles and fuel tanks, 113 anti-aircraft batteries, 714 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 73 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 170 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.