The Russian Military Casualties
The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Friday, Ukrainian forces have killed approximately 51,900 Russian troops (and wounded approximately thrice that number), destroyed 239 fighter, attack, and transport jets, 211 attack and transport helicopters, 2,122 tanks, 1,237 artillery pieces, 4,575 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, 306 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 15 boats and cutters, 3,399 vehicles and fuel tanks, 159 anti-aircraft batteries, 888 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 114 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 214 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses.
Meanwhile, the Russian forces continue to suffer heavy casualties. In the past 48 hours alone, the Ukrainians are claiming to have killed 1,300 Russian troops (and wounded between 2,600 and 3,900, if we account for the standard two to three wounded for every soldier killed).
To be sure, these are the official Ukrainian numbers and open to questioning. But Western intelligence agencies and independent reporting based on open-source intelligence are backing the Ukrainian figures in a lot of ways.
For example, the Oryx open-source intelligence site has independently and visually verified the destruction, damaging, or capturing of 5,587 Russian tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, and armored personnel carriers. Though that amounts to about 50 percent of the Ukrainian claims, the difficulty of visually verifying casualties from another country certainly frustrates the process. In the end, the Ukrainian numbers should be questioned but not the widespread casualties of the Russian military.
Russian Military Adding Belarus To the War?
Belarus, the only (overt) ally of Russia in Europe, is conducting major military drills on Ukraine’s northern border, raising concerns that Minsk might be involved in the war to distract the Ukrainian forces from their very successful counteroffensives.
But intelligence suggests that those concerns are unfounded.
“Although Russia’s use of Belarusian territory was instrumental in Russia’s failed advance on Kyiv early in the invasion, Belarusian forces have limited offensive capabilities and there is a remote chance that they have deployed forces into Ukraine,” the British Military Intelligence assessed in its latest estimate of the war.
The British Military Intelligence added that the Russian drills are “highly unlikely” an indication of the desire of Belarus to be directly involved in the war in Ukraine.
Meanwhile, the Ukrainian forces have liberated more than 380 square miles of territory in the last week or so.
“In total, more than a thousand square kilometers of our territory have been liberated since September 1. I am grateful to everyone who made it happen! I am grateful to the army, intelligence officers, and special services for every Ukrainian flag that has been hoisted these days,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his daily address to the Ukrainian people and the world.
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 Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP.