The Russian military continues to suffer an unsustainable rate of casualties in Ukraine, with its mechanized infantry suffering the heaviest number of losses and losing its ability to conduct successful large-scale offensive operations.
The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Wednesday, Ukrainian forces have killed approximately 43,200 Russian troops (and wounded approximately thrice that number), destroyed 233 fighter, attack, and transport jets, 193 attack and transport helicopters, 1,849 tanks, 975 artillery pieces, 4,108 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, 261 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 15 boats and cutters, 3,021 vehicles and fuel tanks, 136 anti-aircraft batteries, 778 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 90 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 185 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses.
The Attack Against Saky Air Base
On Tuesday, the Russian forces at the Saky Air Base on the western part of Crimea woke up to an inferno. Mysterious explosions started going off, destroying at least nine fighter and bomber jets, plus unspecified amounts of ammunition and fuel, according to satellite imagery of the base before and after the attack.
“On 9 August 2022, explosions occurred at the Russian-operated Saky military airfield in western Crimea. The original cause of the blasts is unclear, but the large mushroom clouds visible in eyewitness video were almost certainly from the detonation of up to four uncovered munition storage areas,” the British Military Intelligence assessed.
U.S. officials have denied that American weapon systems were used in the attack but they have also stated that they can’t still determine what methods or weapon systems the Ukrainian forces employed, suggesting that the attack might have been the result of a special forces operation. Whatever the cause, the Ukrainian military has shown that it has the capability and intent to strike deep behind Russian lines.
“At least five Su-24 FENCER fighter-bombers and three Su-30 FLANKER H multi-role jets were almost certainly destroyed or seriously damaged in the blasts. Saky’s central dispersal area has suffered serious damage, but the airfield probably remains serviceable,” the British Ministry of Defense stated.
“The loss of eight combat jets represents a minor proportion of the overall fleet of aircraft Russia has available to support the war. However, Saky was primarily used as a base for the aircraft of the Russian Navy’s Black Sea Fleet,” the British Ministry of Defense added.
“The fleet’s naval aviation capability is now significantly degraded. The incident will likely prompt the Russian military to revise its threat perception. Crimea has probably been seen as a secure rear-area,” the British Military Intelligence assessed.
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.