On day 205 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Ukrainian forces continue to push the Russian military in the east and south, while Moscow is starting to telegraph that it wants out after Russian President Vladimir Putin’s remarks to his Indian counterpart.
Force Generation Woes
The fact that the Russian military is losing and suffering enormous casualties is not helping either.
Moscow has been resorting to several different ways in order to make up for the lack of troops. One of them has been to use mercenaries from private military companies. The infamous Wagner Group is perhaps the best-known mercenary group in action in Ukraine.
Footage is circulating with Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of Wagner Group, touring a prison and promising convicts their freedom if they join the ranks of his mercenary group and fight in Ukraine. But the Russian military is too trying to find more troops, experimenting in several ways.
“Separately, Russian military academies are shortening training courses and bringing cadets graduation dates forwards. This is almost certainly so cadets can be deployed to support the Ukraine operation. The impact of Russia’s manpower challenge has become increasingly severe, the British Military Intelligence assessed in its latest estimate of the war.
“The acceleration of officer cadets’ training, and Wagner’s demand for assault troops suggests that two of the most critical shortages within the military manning crisis are probably combat infantry and junior commanders,” the British Military Intelligence added.
Russian Casualties in Ukraine
The Russian military continues to suffer heavy casualties in Ukraine. The Ukrainian counteroffensive in the east was devastating for the Russian forces, which lost upwards of 200 tanks, armored personnel carriers, and infantry fighting vehicles in the span of just six days.
The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Friday, Ukrainian forces have killed approximately 54,050 Russian troops (and wounded approximately thrice that number), destroyed 250 fighter, attack, and transport jets, 216 attack and transport helicopters, 2,199 tanks, 1,302 artillery pieces, 4,690 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, 312 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 15 boats and cutters, 3,550 vehicles and fuel tanks, 168 anti-aircraft batteries, 908 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 121 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 233 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses.
More Weapons to Ukraine
Meanwhile, the U.S. is continuing to support the Ukrainian military with additional packages of security aid. In the last two weeks, the White House has approved a total of almost $1.3 billion in military aid to Ukraine (one package of $675 million and one of $600 million).
These packages didn’t provide any revolutionary weapon system but rather mainly replenished the Ukrainian ammunition stocks that have been depleting lately because of the two counteroffensives in the east and the south.
The military aid package includes 105mm and 155mm artillery rounds, High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) rockets, Counter-Unmanned Aerial Systems, Mine clearing equipment, Claymore anti-personnel munitions, Demolition munitions and equipment, Small arms and ammunition, Night vision devices, cold weather gear, field equipment, and counter-artillery radars.
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. He is currently working towards a Master’s Degree in Strategy and Cybersecurity at the Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). His work has been featured in Business Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP.