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Putin’s War in Ukraine Is Falling Apart

HIMARS
HIMARS Training: Credit - Wisconsin National Guard / Sgt. Sean Huolihan. Wisconsin National Guard / Sgt. Sean Huolihan

It was 189 days ago that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his forces to invade Ukraine, but Moscow is still trying to achieve its main objectives in a faltering war.

The Ukrainian military is pressing on with a major counteroffensive in the south while the Russian military is scrambling to deal with the consequences.

The Russian Casualties in Ukraine

The Ukrainian counteroffensive in the south is taking place as the Russian military is trying hard to replenish frontline units with men.

For the past several months, the Russian forces have been struggling with force generation issues. The fierce and unexpected Ukrainian defense and the lackluster Russian war effort have taken a heavy toll on the Russian military.

The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Wednesday, Ukrainian forces have killed approximately 47,900 Russian troops (and wounded approximately thrice that number), destroyed 234 fighter, attack, and transport jets, 204 attack and transport helicopters, 1,974 tanks, 1,091 artillery pieces, 4,312 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, 285 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 15 boats and cutters, 3,236 vehicles and fuel tanks, 152 anti-aircraft batteries, 849 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 Ukraine’s Counteroffensive: Analysis 

The Ukrainian forces are pushing hard with their counteroffensive in the south in the direction of Kherson, advancing in five different directions while targeting and taking out critical Russian military targets, including bridges, railways, ammunition depots, fuel dumps, artillery batteries, and command and control hubs.

“Ukrainian armoured forces have continued to assault Russia’s Southern Grouping of Forces on several axes across the south of the country since Monday. Ukrainian formations have pushed the front line back some distance in places, exploiting relatively thinly held Russian defences,” the British Military Intelligence assessed in its latest war update.

The Russian military is pulling back in several settlements, and reports from the ground suggest that the Ukrainian forces have advanced up to six miles in certain places. The Russian military is using mobile units to plug any gaps along the contact line created by the Ukrainian advances, but it remains uncertain whether that will suffice to stop the Ukrainian counteroffensive.

M270 MLRS Rocket Artillery

M270 MLRS. Image: ROK Military handout.

The Ukrainian counteroffensive comes after months of preparation. Using its newly acquired weapon systems—especially the M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) and M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS)—the Ukrainian military had slowly but steadily taken out most of the Russian military’s logistical structure in the south. Thus, when the counteroffensive began, the Ukrainian forces on the ground would have a much easier job ahead of them.

Kyiv took a gamble by launching a counteroffensive in the south while the Russian military pushed hard in the Donbas in the east. But it seems that it is paying off—or at least for now.

Expert Biography: A 19FortyFive 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.

4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Yrrala

    August 31, 2022 at 4:17 pm

    Operation Lost Cause,as reported by NPR,from an ofjective source Google Frank Langfitt Ukraine

  2. Fluffy Dog

    August 31, 2022 at 4:53 pm

    “Kyiv took a gamble by launching a counteroffensive in the south ”

    It’s not a gamble. The Russian troops on the right bank of Dnieper are cut off from supplies of all sorts. Like I said before, the minute Ukraine got HIMARS and AGM-88 HARMs, the Kherson area became a trap. Ukraine does not have enough trained people and offensive weapons in the army to conduct a powerful assault, so they continue slow advances against the Russians, who have to expend ammo, fuel, food, and people. And none of that is being replenished.
    Russians have 3 options in Kherson: die, surrender, or run. It’s only a matter of time now.

  3. Steven

    August 31, 2022 at 11:26 pm

    Wow, fluffy dog, I love it!

  4. CPT K

    September 1, 2022 at 7:08 am

    Uh, nope Fluffy Dog. Not sure what war college you went to, but that’s not even close to being right.

    And you Stavros, you’ve been proclaiming the Russians effort to be “falling apart” for 6 months. Come on. How about some analysis instead of cheerleading?

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