Russian Casualties in Ukraine Keep Growing
Overall, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Tuesday, Ukrainian forces have killed approximately 85,000 Russian troops (and wounded approximately thrice that number), destroyed 278 fighter, attack, bomber and transport jets, 261 attack and transport helicopters, 2,895 tanks, 1,882 artillery pieces, 5,827 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, 395 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 16 boats and cutters, 4,393 vehicles and fuel tanks, 209 anti-aircraft batteries, 1,537 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 161 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 480 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses.
Attack on Russian Submarine Base
The Russian Navy’s Black Sea Fleet hasn’t had the best war. Although, at first, it seemed that the Russian Navy was able to establish sea control in the Black Sea after the capture of Snake Island, things quickly turned south for the Russians.
In April, the Ukrainian military managed to strike with two Neptune anti-ship missiles the guided-missile cruiser Moskva, the flagship of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, and sink it. The sinking of the Moskva was a humiliating moment for the Russian military in general but particularly for the Russian Navy, which was forced to retreat back to its naval bases.
Then, Ukrainian special forces attacks against Russian ports and airbases in Crimea caused more damaged and further restricted the operations of the Russian Navy, which has been largely limited in launching cruise and ballistic missiles from its submarines.
Last week, reports emerged about a Ukrainian attack on the Novorossiysk port in Russia. The port is a major Russian Navy Black Sea Fleet base, and there is also a significant oil terminal there too. The attack looks like it happened by unmanned maritime systems, but the damage caused remains to be determined.
However, the attack by itself is a point of concern for the Russian military.
After the Ukrainian forces attacked the Sevastopol naval base, which is located in the southern tip of Crimea, over the summer, the Russian Navy relocated most of its submarine operations to Novorossiysk in an attempt to protect its precious subsurface vessels.
Moreover, there are several amphibious landing ships located in the port, and the Russian military has been using them to transport supplies to Crimea because of the partial destruction of the Kerch Bridge that links Russia with the annexed peninsula.
“Russian commanders will likely be concerned about threats to the Novorssiysk-based amphibious landing ship flotilla. These vessels are relatively vulnerable without escorts and have assumed a more important role in supplying Russian forces in Ukraine since the Kerch Bridge was damaged in October,” the British Military Intelligence assessed in its latest estimate of the war.
“Full details of this incident are yet to emerge. However, any demonstration of a Ukrainian capability to threaten Novorssiysk would highly likely represent a further strategic challenge for the BSF. It would also further undermine Russia’s already reduced maritime influence in the Black Sea,” 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.