The Ukrainian forces continue to push with their counteroffensive in the south toward Kherson.
Ukraine Has the Strategic Initiative
The Ukrainian forces continue to push with their counteroffensive in the south toward Kherson, and now Kyiv has the strategic initiative. Moscow is relocating forces to the south in response to the Ukrainian counteroffensive but has to sacrifice its offensive operations in the Donbas.
“Ukraine is likely seizing the strategic initiative and forcing Russia to reallocate forces and reprioritize efforts in response to Ukrainian counteroffensive operations,” the Institute for the Study of War assessed in its latest operational update.
“Russian forces are also redeploying military equipment – artillery and aviation in particular – to Crimea from elsewhere in Ukraine,” the Institute for the Study of War added.
The Russian Casualty List
The Russian military is hurting for trained soliders. Five months of war in Ukraine have taken their toll on the Russian force generation capabilities.
The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Friday, Ukrainian forces have killed approximately 41,650 Russian troops (and wounded approximately thrice that number), destroyed 223 fighter, attack, and transport jets, 191 attack and transport helicopters, 1,792 tanks, 950 artillery pieces, 4,032 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, 260 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 15 boats and cutters, 2,964 vehicles and fuel tanks, 123 anti-aircraft batteries, 742 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 83 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 180 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses.
There is currently a potential disaster in the making in Ukraine. The Russian military is occupying the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, which is the largest in Europe, but the Ukrainian counteroffensive in the south is heading in that direction.
“Following five months of occupation, Russia’s intentions regarding the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant remain unclear. However, the actions they have undertaken at the facility have likely undermined the security and safety of the plant’s normal operations,” the British Military Intelligence assessed in its daily estimate of the war.
“Russian forces are probably operating in the regions adjacent to the power station and have used artillery units based in these areas to target Ukrainian territory on the western bank of the Dnipro river,” the British Ministry of Defense stated.
There was some fighting when the Russian forces first captured the power plant in the early days of the war, endangering the facility. But now the concerns about the safety of the plant resurface because the Russian military has used the protected nature of the power plant for military operations.
“Russian forces have probably used the wider facility area, in particular the adjacent city of Enerhodar, to rest their forces, utilising the protected status of the nuclear power plant to reduce the risk to their equipment and personnel from overnight Ukrainian attacks,” the British Military Intelligence assessed.
Training the Ukrainians
The effort to train Ukraine’s “one million army” is going strong. A few weeks ago, Ukrainian Minister of Defense Oleksii Reznikov said in an interview that Kyiv aims to create a military force with one million troops to retake the territories occupied by the Russians. But to create such a military force, training is essential. And this is where the United Kingdom steps in.
Outgoing British Prime Minister Boris Johnson spearheaded a training initiative in which 10,000 Ukrainian troops fly to the U.K. and get combat ready in just 120 days, or four months. This effort has been going on for some time now, and more international partners have joined the British training cadre to prepare the Ukrainian troops. Canada is the latest partner to step in.
“I’m delighted that the Canadian Armed Forces will be joining the growing international effort to support the training of Ukrainian soldiers in the U.K.,” British Secretary for Defense Ben Wallace said.
“Canada’s expertise will provide a further boost to the programme and ensure that the Ukrainian men and women, coming to the U.K. to train to defend their country, will get a wide pool of experience and skills from both U.K. forces and our international partners,” Wallace 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 Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP.