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Smart Bombs: Military, Defense and National Security

Putin’s Crisis: The Russian Military Is Failing in Ukraine

Russian T-90 Tank. Image: Creative Commons.
Image: Creative Commons.

The war in Ukraine goes on, and the Russian military is very much on defense. On day 237 of the war in Ukraine, the Russian military tried to stop the Ukrainian counteroffensives in the east and the south by sending more mobilized troops and setting up hasty defensive lines.

The Fight Goes On in Ukraine 

In the east, the Russian and Ukrainian forces are engaged in bitter fighting for the town of Kreminna. The Ukrainian forces are pushing hard to capture the town in order to advance toward Svatove, which is located further in the east and is an important logistical hub.

In the south, the Ukrainian military continues to push the Russian forces in the Kherson province, slowly edging closer to Kherson City with every passing day.

In all these, the Russian military is very much on the defense, with the Ukrainian forces enjoying the strategic initiative almost across the battlefield.

Several units consisting of reserve troops that Russian President Vladimir Putin partially mobilized in the closing of September have been deployed in Ukraine. However, they often lack basic warfighting equipment, such as body armor and modern helmets, and as a result, are much less effective on the ground.

“Many reservists are likely required to purchase their own body armour, especially the modern 6B45 vest, which is meant to be on general issue to combat units as part of the Ratnik personal equipment programme. Endemic corruption and poor logistics remain one of the underlying causes of Russia’s poor performance in Ukraine,” the British Military Intelligence assessed.

Russian Casualties

The Russian military is sending more troops and weapon systems to Ukraine every day. But the Ukrainian tactical advantages mean that the majority of the new Russian forces and materiel end up becoming casualties in a brutal war of attrition.

Overall, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Sunday, Ukrainian forces have killed approximately 65,000 Russian troops (and wounded approximately thrice that number), destroyed 268 fighter, attack, and transport jets, 242 attack and transport helicopters, 2,529 tanks, 1,589 artillery pieces, 5,193 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, 365 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 16 boats and cutters, 3,959 vehicles and fuel tanks, 186 anti-aircraft batteries, 1,224 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 143 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 316 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses.

The Faltering Russian Aerospace and Defense Industry 

The war in Ukraine and the performance of the Russian weapon systems on the battlefield haven’t been good marketing for the Russian aerospace and defense industry. Time and again, the world (and prospective buyers of Russian weapon systems) have seen Russian tanks, armored personnel carriers, aircraft, artillery pieces, and ballistic and cruise missiles fail in action.

“Russia’s defence industry is probably incapable of producing advanced munitions at the rate they are being expended. These attacks represent a further degradation of Russia’s long-range missile stocks, which is likely to constrain their ability to strike the volume of targets they desire in future,” the British Military Intelligence assessed in its latest estimate of the war.


Ukrainian soldiers stand on top of a tank, amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, in the frontline city of Lyman, Donetsk region, Ukraine April 28, 2022. REUTERS/Jorge Silva


Image of Ukraine tank firing. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

The heavy sanctions imposed on the Russian aerospace and defense industries by the U.S. and the West are also affecting the production of weapon systems and, in turn, further restrict the ability of the Russian military to fight effectively in Ukraine.

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 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.