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Ukraine: A Giant Graveyard for the Russian Military?

Javelin Anti-Tank Missile
Javelin Anti-Tank Missile.

On day 149 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Russian military is still looking for a breakthrough in eastern Ukraine. As the days pass without achieving significant advances, the Russian military’s combat capabilities are degrading.

Fighting in the Donbas 

In its daily estimate of the war, the British Ministry of Defense touched on the situation in the Donbas and the Russian attempts to capture Ukrainian critical infrastructure.

“In the Donbas, Ukrainian forces continue to repel Russian attempts to assault the Vuhlehirsk power plant. Russian artillery remains focused on areas around the cities of Kramatorsk and Siversk,” the British Military Intelligence assessed.

Despite restarting its offensive in eastern Ukraine, the Russian military has failed to achieve anything significant over the past few days. Indeed, there is a theme here. Since the start of the renewed offensive in the Donbas in May, the Russian forces have advanced only between six and ten miles, according to the Pentagon.

What You’re Not Supposed to do with an S-400 Anti-Aircraft Missile 

But lack of advance on the ground isn’t the only problem for the Russian military. In its daily estimate of the conflict, the British Ministry of Defense also focused on the Russian military’s misuse of advanced, strategic anti-aircraft missiles against ground targets.

After nearly five months of conflict, the Russian high-precision arsenal is depleting. The Russian forces have launched more than 2,000 ballistic and cruise missiles against Ukraine, and now they are being forced to use weapons that were made for different purposes.

“On 21 July 2022, Vitaly Kim, governor of Ukraine’s Mykolaiv region, said that Russian forces had used seven air defence missiles to strike infrastructure, energy facilities and storage areas,” the British Ministry of Defense stated.

Russia has increased its use of air defence missiles in a secondary ground attack mode because of critical shortages of dedicated ground-attack missiles. Russian [sic] has almost certainly deployed S-300 and S-400 strategic air defence systems, designed to shoot down aircraft and missiles at long ranges, near Ukraine from the start of invasion,” the British Ministry of Defense added.

But an S-300 or S-400 weapon systems are designed to take out F-16 Fighting Falcon, F-15 Strike Eagle, and other Western fighter jets and aircraft. They are not designed to strike command and control or ammunition depots with precision. And as a result, Russian strikes with these weapons can be way off—to be sure, Russian strikes with even the appropriate weapon systems have been way off, killing civilians).

“These weapons have relatively small warheads, designed to destroy aircraft. They could pose a significant threat against troops in the open and light buildings but are unlikely to penetrate hardened structures,” the British Ministry of Defense stated.

“There is a high chance of these weapons missing their intended targets and causing civilian casualties because the missiles they are not optimised for this role, and their crews will have little training for such missions,” the British Military Intelligence assessed.

Russian Casualties 

The daily rate of Russian casualties remains relatively slow but the overall numbers are dizzying.

The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Friday, Ukrainian forces have killed approximately 39,000 Russian troops (and wounded approximately thrice that number), destroyed 221 fighter, attack, and transport jets, 188 attack and transport helicopters, 1,704 tanks, 863 artillery pieces, 3,920 armored personnel carriers, 251 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 15 boats and cutters, 2,803 vehicles and fuel tanks, 113 anti-aircraft batteries, 713 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 72 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 167 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses.

More Weapons For Ukraine 

The U.S. military is expected to announce another package of military aid to Ukraine, with four additional High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS). This security package will bring the number of Ukrainian HIMARS to 16.

“But Russia is keeping up its relentless shelling and that’s a cruel tactic that harkens back to the horrors of World War I. So Ukraine needs the firepower and the ammunition to withstand its barrage and to strike back at the Russian weapons launching these attacks from inside Ukraine’s own territory,” U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said in a press briefing.

“And so we understand the urgency and we’re pushing hard to maintain and intensify the momentum of donations. That includes many new announcements made this morning. We’re seeing countries from all around the world continue to step up with critically needed systems and ammunition. It has been truly an inspiring effort,” Lloyd 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.

9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. magneto

    July 22, 2022 at 3:45 pm

    Ukraine is,a graveyard for over 10,000 Russian military vehicles, which must have some scrap value. Russian dead and wounded 156,000. The Russian army of 280,000 has been decimated to leave 124,000, of which some 100,000 were sent to ukraine.
    The Ukraine figures of Russian casualties have been used and there is supporting evidence the russians are desperate, even to the extent of transferring troops from the Kurile islands in the Pacific, even though the troops only had training in defence and not in offensive warfare.

    The russians are past the point of containing losses, and are openly degrading their army in a hopeless conflict with a ukraine military that has even more modern weapons thanks to western countries with a far greater economic capacity.

  2. aldol11

    July 22, 2022 at 6:55 pm

    The only reason why Russia is still fighting is that the moment that Putin can no longer claim to be winning he will end up like Gaddafi

  3. Jacksonian Libertarian

    July 22, 2022 at 8:03 pm

    Not exactly a blitzkrieg when it takes 2 months to move 10 miles. After 5 months of fighting, the Russian Survivors are cautious veterans that know anyone in an armored vehicle is one smart missile away from the grave.

  4. Mark Wiechmann

    July 23, 2022 at 4:08 pm

    This article is bullshit propaganda. Where are the estimates of Uke casualaties and losses? Cat got your tongue?

  5. prague 1968

    July 23, 2022 at 5:02 pm

    Ok Stavros, you convinced me, the Russians are running on empty. Did you get your figures from the US state department? Or the great Volodomyr himself? Ukraine has a lot of problems, and more fuel on the fire (US made arms) wont fix them. The Russians are not going anywhere, the idea of splitting Russia up into a dozen vassal states is ludicrous. There is a new world order coming, and the US is terrified of losing its’ hegemony as a sole world super power along with the petro-dollar carrot stick. People are tired of being pushed around, and BRICS is gaining ground every day. Make no mistake, this is a fight between NATO and allies, and the BRICS nations. At this point, China stands with Russia. Russia and China want nothing to do with the great reset (WEF, IMF, WHO, et.al.) that the West has planned. The two ideologies are totally incompatible. Serbia has unfinished business with NATO as well. China has been pouring arms into Serbia. The Polaks are itching for a fight as they hate the Russians with a passion, and The Russians might just oblige. The Russian army has landed in South America. Stavros, have you considered the possibility that this dumpster fire is just getting started? The best I am hoping for that sane leadership will be elected into US office, and they will defund this horror show. The Russians will get what they want, and they will leave. As they have always done in the past. My fear is that this pissing contest is long from over, and no one has the mental ecumen to back off, and make a deal.

  6. prague 1968

    July 23, 2022 at 5:55 pm

    Ok Stavros, you convinced me, the Russians are running on empty. Did you get your figures from the US state department? Or the great Volodomyr himself? Ukraine has a lot of problems, and more fuel on the fire (US made arms) wont fix them. The Russians are not going anywhere, the idea of splitting Russia up into a dozen vassal states is ludicrous. There is a new world order coming, and the US is terrified of losing its’ hegemony as a sole world super power along with the petro-dollar carrot stick. People are tired of being pushed around, and BRICS is gaining ground every day. Make no mistake, this is a fight between NATO and allies, and the BRICS nations. At this point, China stands with Russia. Russia and China want nothing to do with the great reset (WEF, IMF, WHO, et.al.) that the West has planned. The two ideologies are totally incompatible. Serbia has unfinished business with NATO as well. China has been pouring arms into Serbia. The Polaks are itching for a fight as they hate the Russians with a passion, and The Russians might just oblige. The Russian army has landed in South America. Stavros, have you considered the possibility that this dumpster fire is just getting started? The best I am hoping for that sane leadership will be elected into US office, and they will defund this horror show. The Russians will get what they want, and they will leave. As they have always done in the past. My fear is that this pissing contest is long from over, and no one has the mental acumen to back off, and make a deal.

  7. prague 1968

    July 23, 2022 at 8:46 pm

    Add to that; After billions spent, and countless deaths, not only is the Russian army still there, they are advancing. The biggest problem for Zelensky and NATO is that the people of Donbass are on the side of Russia.

    Semper Fi

    • Zelensky

      July 23, 2022 at 11:42 pm

      Roger that, Prague.
      Thank you for the cogent words and accurate analysis. So many sites like this one spew absolute garbage and propaganda on a daily basis. Most seem incapable of separating fact from fiction.

  8. prague 1968

    July 24, 2022 at 12:56 am

    As far as your comment about Russian shelling being a cruel tactic reminiscent of WW 1. War is a bitch, that is why nobody wants to engage in it, and it is the last resort to resolve conflicts. There is nothing about war that is not cruel. Are you implying that the Russian army is the only military that uses cruel tactics? Shooting POWs is not cruel? I’m not talking about the Nazi bastards of the Azov battalion, I am talking about taking no prisoners in the fields of central Europe shooting everything wearing a Nazi uniform. Including POWs. Yeah war is a cruel bitch. You know better.

    Semper Fi

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