The Ukrainian military is routing the Russian forces in eastern Ukraine. On day 200 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Russian military was forced to a humiliating retreat across the contact line in the east, giving up to the advancing Ukrainians swaths of territory.
Fighting in the East
The Russian front in the northeast is very much collapsing, with the Ukrainian forces advancing furiously in many directions after having broken the Russian defenses. Izium, captured by the Russian forces long ago and used as a staging base for attacks in the Donbas, is now under threat of encirclement.
The two Ukrainian counteroffensives have liberated almost twice the size of territory in a few days than the Russian military did in more than three months of offensive operations in the Donbas. Moreover, Ukrainian forces have liberated 3,200 square miles of territory in the last few days. To capture the same amount of land it took the Russian forces five months.
“Over the last 24 hours, Ukrainian forces have continued to make significant gains in the Kharkiv region. Russia has likely withdrawn units from the area, but fighting continues around the strategically important cities of Kupiansk and Izium,” the British Military Intelligence assessed in its latest estimate of the war in Ukraine.
The Russian military has been using Izium for months as a headquarters and staging base for the assault on the Donbas. The loss of the strategic city—which took the Russians about a month to capture—will adversely affect any offensive operations against the Ukrainian forces in the Donbas.
The much lesser-known Kupyansk is a key railway hub in which several railway lines intersect. Its loss will further frustrate any Russian offensive, or indeed defensive, operations in eastern Ukraine. The Russian military relies heavily on railroads for its logistics, and losses such as Kupyansk are hard to recover from.
The Ukrainian forces continue to press on with the blitzkrieg, and they seem well-equipped to carry it far.
The Russian Casualties
In its retreat from the east, the Russian military has been abandoning equipment left and right. The exact number of Russian losses won’t be understood for a few days because the situation is so fluid.
The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Sunday, Ukrainian forces have killed approximately 52,650 Russian troops (and wounded approximately thrice that number), destroyed 242 fighter, attack, and transport jets, 213 attack and transport helicopters, 2,154 tanks, 1,263 artillery pieces, 4,617 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, 311 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 15 boats and cutters, 3,445 vehicles and fuel tanks, 162 anti-aircraft batteries, 902 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 117 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 216 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses.
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.