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Putin’s War in Ukraine Is Going Up in Flames

M777. Image Credit: Creative Commons.
Soldiers serving with Alpha Battery, 2nd Battalion, 77th Field Artillery Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 4th Inf. Division, shoot a round down range from their M777A2 howitzer on Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, Aug. 22, 2014. The round was part of a shoot to register, or zero, the howitzers, which had just arrived on KAF from Forward Operating Base Pasab. The shoot also provided training for a fire support team from 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th IBCT, 4th Inf. Div. This is similar to artillery now engaged in Ukraine. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Ariel Solomon/Released)

The Ukrainian military continues to inflict heavy casualties on the Russian forces, which are defending almost all across Ukraine. 

On day 248 of the war in Ukraine, the Ukrainian forces are still on the offensive while the Russian military has been forced on the defense everywhere except the south of the Donbas around the city of Bakhmut. 

The Russian Casualties

The Russian casualty figures (those reported by Ukraine) broke the 70,000 killed mark on Saturday. If that number is accurate, then the Russian military has suffered between 140,000 and 210,000 total casualties (one killed usually means two or three wounded). 

Overall, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Saturday, Ukrainian forces have killed approximately 70,250 Russian troops (and wounded approximately thrice that number), destroyed 273 fighter, attack, and transport jets, 252 attack and transport helicopters, 2,659 tanks, 1,708 artillery pieces, 5,401 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, 380 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 16 boats and cutters, 4,107 vehicles and fuel tanks, 195 anti-aircraft batteries, 1,406 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 152 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 351 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses.

More Weapons for Ukraine

The Biden Administration has approved another security aid package to Ukraine. Worth $275 million, the latest package of military aid (24th in total) features mainly more ammunition for the dwindling stocks of the Ukrainian forces. Here is what is included:

– Additional ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS);

– 500 M982 Excalibur precision-guided 155mm artillery rounds;

– 2,000 155mm rounds of Remote Anti-Armor Mine (RAAM) Systems;

– More than 1,300 anti-armor systems;

– 125 High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWVs);

– Small arms and more than 2,750,000 rounds of small arms ammunition; and

– Four satellite communications antennas.

Since the start of the war, the U.S. has sent or committed to sending almost $18 billion in military aid to the Ukrainian military for a total of more than $18.5 billion since January 2021. By far, the U.S. is the single biggest contributor of weapons to Ukraine, with the United Kingdom, the European Union, and Poland taking up the rest three slots in the top four. 

Indeed, despite their recent successes, the Ukrainian forces are running out of ammo for their artillery. The high rate of daily fire (as much as 6,000 rounds a day, depending on the intensity of the fighting) isn’t the only source of concern for the Ukrainians. Their artillery arsenal is made up of a hodgepodge of different weapon systems, ranging from Soviet-era 152mm artillery pieces to U.S.-made M777 155mm howitzers. The difference in caliber means that the Ukrainians can’t use the same rounds across the artillery forces, thus creating a logistical nightmare.


Soldiers assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 32nd Field Artillery, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, fire a M777 towed 155 mm Howitzer on Qayyarah West Airfield, Iraq, Aug. 10, 2019. The Soldiers conducted a fire mission to disrupt known enemy positions. As long as Daesh presents a threat, Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve remains committed to enabling its defeat. (U.S. Army Reserve photo by Spc. DeAndre Pierce)

As much as 30 percent of the Ukrainian artillery is NATO-standard. These weapon systems have been delivered to Ukraine as part of the ongoing stream of weaponry and intelligence that is daily flowing into Ukraine since the Russian invasion began on February 24.

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.