The situation in Ukraine doesn’t look good for the Russian military. That is no news to anyone who has been paying even a tiny amount of attention to the conflict. But now the Russians themselves are recognizing the direness of the situation.
General Sergey Surovikin, the new overall commander of Russian forces in Ukraine, went public the other day and said that the situation doesn’t look good.
“Taken as a whole, the situation in the zone of the special military operation can be characterized as tense. The enemy takes every opportunity to attack Russian forces, this mostly concerns the areas of Kupyansk, Krasnyi Lyman, Mykolaiv, and Krivy Rih,” Gen. Surovikin said in recent remarks.
“We [Russians] and Ukrainians are one people. We want one thing. That Ukraine should be independent of NATO and the West, with a government that is friendly to Russia. The enemy is a criminal regime which is driving the Ukrainians to their deaths.
“As the overall operational commander, Surovikin’s announcement highlighting negative news about the ‘special military operation’ is highly unusual,” the British Military Intelligence assessed, adding that Surovikin’s statements suggest that the Russian military is “seriously considering” a major pullout from the majority of the Kherson province.
One of the main challenges that the Russian military is facing in Kherson is how to extract the troops and weapon systems from the western bank of the Dnipro River. With a width of about one kilometer, fording the Dnipro River is no easy task. And the Russian military has already had bad experiences with river crossings.
In the spring, the Russian forces lost to concentrations of Ukrainian artillery more than 80 tanks, armored personnel carriers, and infantry fighting vehicles and over 400 troops killed in an attempt to cross a river in the Donbas.
“With all the permanent bridges severely damaged, Russia would highly likely rely heavily on a temporary barge bridge it completed near Kherson in recent days, and military pontoon ferry units, which continue to operate at several locations,” the British Military Intelligence stated.
The Russian Casualties
Overall, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Friday, Ukrainian forces have killed approximately 66,750 Russian troops (and wounded approximately thrice that number), destroyed 269 fighter, attack, and transport jets, 243 attack and transport helicopters, 2,573 tanks, 1,648 artillery pieces, 5,258 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, 372 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 16 boats and cutters, 4,006 vehicles and fuel tanks, 189 anti-aircraft batteries, 1,325 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 147 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 329 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses.
NATO Air Defense Systems Against Drones
Meanwhile, in response to the Russian missile and drone attacks against more than 20 Ukrainian cities and several critical infrastructure sites, Ukraine is receiving air defense and anti-drone systems from the U.S. and NATO.
The transatlantic alliance’s Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg stated earlier this week NATO’s intention to provide Ukraine with anti-drone air defense systems that would deal with the Iranian Shahed-136 suicide drones that the Russian forces have been using so liberally against Ukrainian cities in the past few days.
“I welcome Jens Stoltenberg’s statement on NATO planning to deliver anti-drone air defense systems to Ukraine in the coming days. This is just what we discussed and requested. For Ukraine, this means more saved lives and a better protected energy infrastructure,” Ukrainian Foreign Affairs Minister Dimitri Kuleba said.
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.