Is Putin Losing the War in Ukraine? The Russian military continues to struggle in Ukraine on day 217 of the war. Russian forces are in the strategic defense, while the Ukrainian military is advancing on two fronts and successfully defending on a third.
The Russian Casualties in Ukraine
The Russian military is on the back foot and is suffering great losses in the process of retreating.
Overall, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Wednesday, Ukrainian forces have killed approximately 58,150 Russian troops (and wounded approximately thrice that number), destroyed 262 fighter, attack, and transport jets, 224 attack and transport helicopters, 2,312 tanks, 1,381 artillery pieces, 4,889 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, 331 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 15 boats and cutters, 3,742 vehicles and fuel tanks, 175 anti-aircraft batteries, 989 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 131 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 242 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses.
The Ukraine War: Advantage Kyiv?
The Ukrainian military continues to press on with its counteroffensive in the east, steadily pushing the Russian forces back from the Kharkiv province and northern Donbas.
Right now, the Ukrainian forces are advancing on two main axes from the Oskil and Siverskyi Donets Rivers. But the Russians are fighting back and aren’t giving up ground so easily. This is partly because they are now closer to the lines of supply after their hasty retreat but also because it would be a great political blow to Moscow if the Luhansk province—part of the Kremlin’s stated war objective—was lost.
Further south in the Donbas, the Russian forces are on the (limited) offensive, trying to break the Ukrainian defenses around Bakhmut. For months the Russian military has tried but failed to break the Ukrainian defenses there but nevertheless continues to waste men, weapons, and supplies.
“Russia continues its grinding attempts to advance near Bakhmut in the Donbas even while it faces severe pressure on its northern and southern flanks. This is likely due to political pressure as Russia is using forces that could otherwise reinforce the other flanks,” the British Military Intelligence assessed in its latest estimate of the war.
Russian Nuclear Threats over Ukraine
During his televised address to announce the partial mobilization of 300,000 troops, Russian President Vladimir Putin once more used the nuclear strike threat card to placate domestic Russian voices and warn the West not to interfere with his illegal referenda in Ukraine.
“So broadly speaking, you know, as we’ve said, we obviously take these threats seriously. But at this stage, we’ve not seen anything that would cause us to adjust our own nuclear posture at this time. And as, and as we’ve said previously, our focus continues to remain on supporting Ukraine in their fight and working closely with our allies and partners,” Air Force Brigadier General Pat Ryder, the Pentagon Press Secretary, said in a press briefing on Tuesday.
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.