The Russian military is frantically working to bolster its defenses in the south around Kherson while Russian officials keep up with nuclear threats.
On day 246 of the war in Ukraine, the Russian forces continue to evacuate troops and weapon systems from the northern part of Kherson under pressure from the Ukrainian counteroffensive. A Ukrainian attack on Kherson City would require significant logistics in the form of bridging material for the mechanized formations to cross the Dnipro River. However, the Ukrainians have a long-range fires advantage and could pull it off.
Russian Casualties in Ukraine
The Russian military’s invasion of Ukraine continues to take a heavy toll on the ranks, with Russia losing hundreds of troops killed every day. In reaction to the mounting losses, especially of advanced weapon systems, the Russian military has resorted to using older equipment, sometimes several decades old.
T-64 tanks that were cutting edge back in the 1960s are spearheading Russian assaults in Ukraine in 2022. And this is just one of the more visible examples of the Russian forces having to use obsolete weapon systems on a modern battlefield.
Overall, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Thursday, Ukrainian forces have killed approximately 69,220 Russian troops (and wounded approximately thrice that number), destroyed 271 fighter, attack, and transport jets, 249 attack and transport helicopters, 2,631 tanks, 1,690 artillery pieces, 5,364 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, 379 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 16 boats and cutters, 4,078 vehicles and fuel tanks, 192 anti-aircraft batteries, 1,398 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 150 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.
Russian Internal Security
Despite Russian President Vladimir Putin’s efforts, the war has come to Russia. First, there were the sanctions and the travel ban; then came the partial mobilization; and now, there is the new security alert system across the country.
Putin has raised the security threat level across Russia and declared martial law in several provinces, including the illegally annexed Ukrainian provinces of Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia.
Now, the Kremlin is working closely with the local elected officials in Moscow to coordinate further security measures, a move that brings regional administration officials closer to the central government and might be an indication of a more totalitarian approach to the war in Ukraine.
“This measure is likely to lead to a closer interlinking of regional governors into Russia’s national security system. It is a further measure to organise society as Russia’s war against Ukraine continues to be under pressure,” the British Military Intelligence assessed in its latest estimate on the war.
“The greater involvement of regional officials is likely at least partially designed to deflect public criticism away from the national leadership. The Kremlin pursued a similar approach during the COVID-19 crisis. However, it will likely make it more difficult for the Kremlin to insulate Russian society from the effects of the ‘special military operation’ in Ukraine,” the British Military Intelligence added.
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 Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP.