Ukraine War Update: After weeks of waiting, the Ukrainian military has launched its counteroffensive against Kherson. On the 188th day of the Russian invasion, the Ukrainian military is advancing in the south.
The Russian Casualties
The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Tuesday, Ukrainian forces have killed approximately 47,550 Russian troops (and wounded approximately thrice that number), destroyed 234 fighter, attack, and transport jets, 204 attack and transport helicopters, 1,954 tanks, 1,079 artillery pieces, 4,294 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, 282 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 15 boats and cutters, 3,217 vehicles and fuel tanks, 151 anti-aircraft batteries, 847 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 103 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 196 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses.
The Ukrainian Counteroffensive
“From early on 29 August 2022, several brigades of the Ukrainian Armed Forces increased the weight of artillery fires in front line sectors across southern Ukraine. Ukrainian long-range precision strikes continue to disrupt Russian resupply. It is not yet possible to confirm the extent of Ukrainian advances,” the British Military Intelligence assessed in its latest estimate of the war.
According to the Institute for the Study of War, the Ukrainian military is trying to advance in five directions.
U.S. officials acknowledged an uptick in kinetic activity on the southern front but wouldn’t say for sure that the real Ukrainian counteroffensive has begun.
“In the vicinity of Kherson, again, an uptick in kinetic activity over the past few days, including artillery and rockets, and as I mentioned to you before, I don’t have particulars on whether or not an offensive has begun down in Kherson, but we have seen an uptick of fighting in that portion of the battlespace,” a senior U.S. official said on Monday.
The Russian units in and around Kherson have been on the receiving end of sustained and precise Ukrainian long-range fires for the past several weeks. As a result, their lines of communication and supply have been seriously frustrated, which translates into fewer ammunition, fuel, and rations.
“However, since the start of August, Russia has made significant efforts to reinforce its force on the western bank of the Dnipro River around Kherson. The Southern Military District’s (SMD) 49th Combined Arms Army has highly likely been augmented with components of the Eastern Military District’s (EMD) 35th Combined Arms Army,” the British Ministry of Defense stated.
“This integration of SMD and EMD units suggests a significant reorganisation of Russia’s force in Ukraine. There is a realistic possibility that Russia has moved to rationalise the several, semi-independent, operational commands which contributed to its poor performance early in the invasion,” the British Ministry of Defense added.
Moreover, the Ukrainian strikes against the railway and vehicle bridges that cross the Dnipro River have made it extremely difficult for the Russian forces in the area to receive
reinforcements and supplies. The Russian military currently relies on a hodgepodge supply train that uses ferries and pontoon bridges. However, such impromptu solutions are unlikely to furnish enough supplies to defend against a major counter-offensive.
“If Ukraine succeeds in undertaking sustained offensive operations, the cohesion of this untested structure will likely be a key factor in the sustainability of Russian defences in the south,” the British Military Intelligence assessed.
Expert Biography: 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.