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175 Days of Battle: Putin Has No Way to Win the War in Ukraine

Russian Su-34
Russian Su-34 fighter-bomber. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

Another day in the war in Ukraine has passed (the 175th since the start of the invasion), and the Russian military continues to flounder.

The Russian Casualties

Despite Moscow’s claims about a war that is going according to plan, the Russian invasion of Ukraine is suffering from many ailments, and heavy casualties is probably the most important. Simply put, the Russian military is losing more men than it can put on the frontlines, growing more ineffective with every passing day.

The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Wednesday, Ukrainian forces have killed approximately 44,100 Russian troops (and wounded approximately thrice that number), destroyed 233 fighter, attack, and transport jets, 196 attack and transport helicopters, 1,886 tanks, 993 artillery pieces, 4,162 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, 263 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 15 boats and cutters, 3,054 vehicles and fuel tanks, 136 anti-aircraft batteries, 792 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 93 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 190 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses.

Attacks on Crimea 

The Ukrainian forces are upping the pressure on the Russian military by taking out key logistical features that are essential for Moscow’s ability to wage effective combat operations in Ukraine.

To be sure, this is nothing new as the Ukrainian forces have been using long-range fires, most notably the M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) and M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS), targeting Russian ammunition dumps, logistical depots, command and control hubs, and communication facilities throughout the Donbas and southern Ukraine for almost a month now.

But now, the Ukrainians are extending the scope of their attacks to strike Russian targets within Crimea too.

“On 16 August 2022, both Russian and Ukrainian officials acknowledged that an ammunition dump had exploded near Dzhankoi in northern Crimea, where a nearby railway and electricity sub-station were also likely damaged,” the British Military Intelligence assessed in its daily estimate of the war.

M270 MLRS Rocket Artillery

M270 MLRS. Image: ROK Military handout.

“Russian media also reported that smoke was rising from near Gvardeyskoye Airbase in the centre of the Crimea. Dzhankoi and Gvardeyskoye are home to two of the most important Russian military airfields in Crimea. Dzhankoi is also a key road and rail junction that plays an important role in supplying Russia’s operations in southern Ukraine,” the British Ministry of Defense stated.

The Crimean Peninsula was invaded and illegally annexed by the Kremlin back in 2014, and since then, Moscow has tried hard to Russianize the strategic peninsula by creating military bases and importing Russians to live there.

“The cause of these incidents and the extent of the damage is not yet clear but Russian commanders will highly likely be increasingly concerned with the apparent deterioration in security across Crimea, which functions as rear base area for the occupation,” the British Military Intelligence assessed.

MLRS Ukraine

Russian Military MLRS. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

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.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Jacksonian Libertarian

    August 17, 2022 at 12:32 pm

    Combat Power rule of thumb: 1 smart weapon = 500 dumb weapons

    A major problem with old school dumb weapons (armored vehicles, cannons, rockets, dumb bombs) is the massive logistical support (fuel, ammo, parts, maintenance, etc.) needed to keep them fighting. This means Russia’s supply lines are critical for its success, and a strategic weakness that a smart weapon armed enemy can exploit.

    It is taking months for the old school Ukrainian military to adapt to the “mature precision strike regime”. It would no doubt happen faster if more General Officers that have reached their level of incompetence were fired. But that is always true of peacetime militaries and wartime militaries.

    Until the dumb Ukrainian Command reorganizes its forces around combined smart weapons, and stops begging for logistically challenged dumb weapons. The stagnant attritional trench war will continue.

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