On day 162 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Russian military is still looking for a breakthrough in eastern Ukraine while the Ukrainian forces are increasing the pressure with a counterattack in the southern part of the country.
The Russian forces continue to suffer heavy casualties in Ukraine. From the start of the conflict, the accurate number of casualties was fluid because of the ever-present fog of war and the different, often opposing, sources of reporting.
The official Ukrainian numbers claim that the Russian military has lost more than 41,000 troops killed in action. Based on that number, we can estimate that the Kremlin also has between 80,000 and 120,000 wounded troops—historically, there are two to three wounded troops for every killed. Combined, those numbers would put the total Russian casualties to between 120,000 and 160,000 from a starting pre-invasion force of approximately 200,000 (but the Russian have committed additional troops since then).
The situation on the ground suggests that the Russian military has indeed suffered great casualties. The lack of large-scale offensives even before Ukraine acquired the game-changing long-range fires, the M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) and the M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS), coupled with the structural change of Russian units indicates that the Russian forces are lacking sufficient troops.
However, the actual total Russian casualties might be around the 75,000 mark, according to U.S. officials.
The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Thursday, Ukrainian forces have killed approximately 41,500 Russian troops (and wounded approximately thrice that number), destroyed 223 fighter, attack, and transport jets, 191 attack and transport helicopters, 1,789 tanks, 946 artillery pieces, 4,026 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, 260 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 15 boats and cutters, 2,960 vehicles and fuel tanks, 118 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.
The Grain Situation
In its daily update, the British Ministry of Defense touched on the Ukrainian grain situation. On Wednesday, the first Ukrainian cargo ship carrying about 26,000 tons of corn sailed through the Bosphorus Straits in Turkey and is now heading toward Lebanon. This comes after months of negotiations between Ukraine, Russia, Turkey, and the United Nations.
“On 03 August 2022, the first vessel with Ukrainian grain arrived at the Bosphorus Strait having transited the Black Sea from Odesa. It is almost certain the success of this transit will result in more frequent transits in both directions,” the British Ministry of Defense stated.
“Clearing the backlog caused by the blockade that has been in place since February 2022 will remain a logistical challenge,” the British Military Intelligence assessed.
Moving through the Ukrainian grain is paramount for hundreds of millions of people around the world, but especially for Africa and the Middle East, who depend on it for their basic needs. It remains to be seen whether the agreement holds and the Ukrainian cargo vessels are able to leave Odesa unhampered by the Russian Navy.
Russia a Terrorist State?
The Russian forces have committed atrocious war crimes in Ukraine. And it is not just ordinary infantrymen who are committing them. Ballistic and cruise missiles have struck civilian targets, killing and maiming innocents countless times. People, thus, are increasingly calling for designating Russia a terrorist state.
To designate Russia as a terrorist state, the U.S. State Department must decide that it meets the required parameters. Although Congress wants to see Moscow designated a terrorist state, it is not very likely that the State Department will go through with the proposal because of the concomitant diplomatic fallout with a major nuclear power.
“Now it is felt that Russia has begun to realize the inevitability of being recognized as a terrorist state. After all that the Russian army and allegedly private Russian military companies have done, no other terrorist organization in the world can claim primacy in terror. Russia is definitely number one among terrorists. And this definitely deserves legal consequences, in particular, in the decisions of the United States and other world actors,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his daily briefing on Thursday.
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.