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Is the Ukraine War Turning Into World War I?

Ukraine Russia
Russian T-72 Tank. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

The war in Ukraine continues with no end in sight after 277 days of the conflict. Both sides are trying to get an edge, with the Ukrainian forces being much more successful.

The Russian Casualties in Ukraine: Updated 

The Russian military continues to take heavy casualties in Ukraine.

Over the past few days, the Russian forces have been averaging around 500 men killed every day, according to the official Ukrainian figures, which are somewhat corroborated by Western militaries and intelligence agencies.

Losses are Astounding for Russia

Overall, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Saturday, Ukrainian forces have killed approximately 87,310 Russian troops (and wounded approximately thrice that number), destroyed 278 fighter, attack, bomber and transport jets, 261 attack and transport helicopters, 2,905 tanks, 1,897 artillery pieces, 5,856 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, 395 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 16 boats and cutters, 4,412 vehicles and fuel tanks, 209 anti-aircraft batteries, 1,555 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 163 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 531 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses.

The Fight for the Donbas 

Over the past couple of weeks, some of the fiercest fighting has been taking place in the south of the Donbas, near the towns of Pavlivka and Vuhledar. Most of the casualties that the Russian military is taking are in that area.

But the Ukrainians are suffering losses too, and territory in the vicinity of the two cities has constantly been changing hands as both sides are trying to push the other back.

“The area around the towns of Pavlivka and Vuhledar in south-central Donetsk Oblast has been the scene of intense combat over the last two weeks, though little territory has changed hands. Both Russia and Ukraine have significant forces committed to this sector, with Russian Naval Infantry having suffered heavy casualties,” the British Military Intelligence assessed in its latest estimate of the war.

The area is the only place in the entire battlefield in which the Russian forces still have some sort of offensive initiative. The infamous private military company Wagner Group has been taking the lead in operations there, especially against Bakhmut and Avdiivka, causing some friction in Moscow.

Wagner Group and its founder, Eugeny Prigozhin, have been trying to wrestle influence away from the Russian Ministry of Defense and position themselves as an integral part of the Russian war machine.

“This area remains heavily contested, likely partially because Russia assesses the area has potential as a launch point for a future major advance north to capture the remainder of Ukrainian-held Donetsk Oblast.

World War I Trenches?

However, Russia is unlikely to be able to concentrate sufficient quality forces to achieve an operational breakthrough,” the British Military Intelligence stated.

The conditions in the area are horrendous. The Ukrainians have dug in and are defending the cities from trenches.

Indeed, the rain has turned the soil into mud, and the conditions resemble that of the trenches on the Western Front during World War I.

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 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.