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Smart Bombs: Military, Defense and National Security

Can Putin Suicide Drone His Way to Victory in Ukraine?

Switchblade Drone
Switchblade drone. Image Credit: Company Handout.

On day 237 of the war in Ukraine, the Russian military is increasingly targeting Ukrainian cities with suicide drones to compensate for the humiliating losses it has been suffering on the ground.

Meanwhile, the Ukrainian forces are advancing in the east and the south.

Russian Suicide Drones 

The week began with another barrage of attacks against Ukrainian urban centers. In Kyiv, in particular, the Russian military launched several suicide drones seemingly indiscriminately since several civilians, including a young family, made up most of the casualties.

The Ukrainian military claimed to have shot down three cruise missiles and 37 Shahed-136 loitering munitions, which were part of the drone shipment that Iran has sent Russia.

Russian Casualties

The Russian military continues to suffer heavy losses both in manpower and weapon systems. The mobilized reservists are showing up on the frontlines, but their arrival has done little to change the situation on the ground or the prospects of the Russian campaign.

To begin with, they are used as replenishment troops, sent piecemeal to units that have suffered heavy casualties in an attempt to bring the units’ numbers ups. But to have more changes to make a difference, the mobilized reservists should be used to stand up new units that can be thrown into combat as one. The current approach just, plus some holes in the wall, it doesn’t fix the crumbling structure.

Overall, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Tuesday, Ukrainian forces have killed approximately 65,850 Russian troops (and wounded approximately thrice that number), destroyed 268 fighter, attack, and transport jets, 242 attack and transport helicopters, 2,548 tanks, 1,622 artillery pieces, 5,219 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, 372 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 16 boats and cutters, 3,985 vehicles and fuel tanks, 188 anti-aircraft batteries, 1,276 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 144 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 318 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses.

European Weapons and Training for Ukraine

In the wake of the Russian missile and drone strikes across Ukraine, the European Union announced that it will be sending an additional €500 million ($486 million) in security aid to Ukraine, bringing up the total of military assistance since the war began to €3.1 billion ($3 billion) and retaining the EU’s place as the third-biggest donor of security aid to Ukraine behind the United States and the United Kingdom, which rank first and second respectively.

Moreover, the EU will create a mission to train 15,000 Ukrainian troops. This initiative will complement the British military’s operation that is training 10,000 Ukrainian troops every four months on British soil.

Russia Ukraine T-90 Tank

T-90 tank in the snow. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

One of the big advantages that the Ukrainian forces have at this moment is the availability of trained soldiers on the front. In sharp contrast to the Russian military, which is scratching the barrel for manpower and sending mobilized reservists with a couple of days of refresher training to the frontline, the Ukrainian forces largely enjoy the benefit of being able to rotate units in and out of the frontline.

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 InsiderSandboxx, and SOFREP.

1945’s Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist with specialized expertise 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.