The war in Ukraine continues now into day 211. The Ukrainian forces persist with their counteroffensives in the south and the east, while the Russian military is trying to make sense of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to mobilize 300,000 reservists.
The Russian Casualties
Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Kremlin advisers might have called a partial mobilization of the reserves, but the Russian military in Ukraine is losing men left and right.
The rate of Russian casualties had slowed down over the past few days, but now it is picking up again. In the past 24 hours, the Russian forces have lost 400 troops (killed), 9 tanks, 28 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, 20 vehicles and fuel tanks, 9 unmanned aerial systems, 1 anti-aircraft system, 1 artillery piece, 1 helicopter, and 1 cruise missile.
Any reinforcements from the activated 300,000 reservists will take time to find themselves on the frontlines. In the meantime, the Russian military will have to make do with whatever scraps of units it can piece together to hold the Ukrainian counteroffensives in the east and south.
Overall, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Thursday, Ukrainian forces have killed approximately 55,510 Russian troops (and wounded approximately thrice that number), destroyed 253 fighter, attack, and transport jets, 218 attack and transport helicopters, 2,236 tanks, 1,341 artillery pieces, 4,776 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, 318 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 15 boats and cutters, 3,630 vehicles and fuel tanks, 169 anti-aircraft batteries, 941 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 125 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 240 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses.
Partial Mobilization or Mass Exodus?
The Russian military has to deal with the immense logistical challenge of incorporating 300,000 new troops into its formations or, indeed, creating new units for them. Then, it will have to equip and train them before they deploy to the frontlines.
“Russia is likely to struggle with the logistical and administrative challenges of even mustering the 300,000 personnel. It will probably attempt to stand up new formations with many of these troops, which are unlikely to be combat effective for months,” the British Military Intelligence assessed in its latest estimate of the war.
Meanwhile, footage from Russia suggests widespread panic among the male population as thousands of draft-eligible males are trying to flee the country in every way possible, including driving to Finland, flying to Turkey, or taking the train to Belarus.
This mass exodus is another example of the unpopularity of Putin’s war within his very own country.
“Even this limited mobilisation is likely to be highly unpopular with parts of the Russian population. Putin is accepting considerable political risk in the hope of generating much needed combat power,” the British Ministry of Defense added.
“The move is effectively an admission that Russia has exhausted its supply of willing volunteers to fight in Ukraine,” the British Military Intelligence assessed.
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.