Ukrainian forces are getting ready to attack a major city in the south while the Russian military is severely lacking in men and supplies. On day 238 of the war in Ukraine, the situation for the Russian forces in Kherson is becoming increasingly bad.
The Logistics of Kerch Bridge
Opened in 2018, the bridge connects Russia with the illegally annexed Crimean Peninsula. Crimea has been the staging ground for the Russian offensive in the south of Ukraine, and as a result, the majority of supplies heading to Kherson and the pro-Russian breakaway forces in the southeast are coming through Crimea.
The October 8 attack against the Kerch Bridge destroyed one roadway, damaged the other vehicle bridge, and also severely damaged one of the rail bridges located adjacent to the vehicle bridges. The Russian authorities have been working to repair and reopen the bridge, and there is some traffic going into Ukraine. However, large numbers of supply trucks have been stuck in Russia, waiting to cross the bridge to Crimea and then on to southern Ukraine.
In its latest operational update on the war, the Institute for the Study of War, a think tank that has been tracking the progress of the conflict since the start, assessed that Russian forces “are struggling to cope with their reduced logistics capacity through Crimea following the attack on the Kerch Strait Bridge” even 11 days after the attack took place.
As a result, the Russian military is looking for alternative routes to get supplies and reinforcements into Ukraine. One of the major alternative routes is Mariupol, the city in which the Ukrainian military showed the world its determination to fight the Russian invaders.
But until Kerch Bridge is fully repaired and functioning properly, Russian forces will continue to face supply issues.
Russian Casualties in Ukraine
To make matters worse, the Russian military continues to suffer a steady stream of casualties across Ukraine.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has ended the partial mobilization he declared in the closing days of September, but the situation on the ground hasn’t changed at all. Indeed, it only has gone worse for Moscow as Ukrainian forces are still on the strategic offensive, liberating small amounts of territory each day until they achieve a breakthrough and recapture large swaths of land in one go.
Overall, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Wednesday, Ukrainian forces have killed approximately 66,280 Russian troops (and wounded approximately thrice that number), destroyed 269 fighter, attack, and transport jets, 242 attack and transport helicopters, 2,554 tanks, 1,637 artillery pieces, 5,235 armored personnel carriers, and infantry fighting vehicles, 372 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 16 boats and cutters, 3,999 vehicles and fuel tanks, 189 anti-aircraft batteries, 1,286 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 146 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 323 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. 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.