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Putin the Loser: The Russian Military Keeps Dying in Ukraine

Russia Ukraine
Russian TOS-1 Heavy Flame Thrower weapon system. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

On the 278th day of its war, the Russian military is trying to achieve something on the ground in Ukraine. But it is failing. 

Ukrainian forces continue to hold the strategic initiative almost everywhere across the country, forcing the Russian military to respond to their movements. 

Russian Casualties in Ukraine: An Update

The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Monday, Ukrainian forces have killed approximately 87,900 Russian troops and wounded approximately thrice that number.

They have also destroyed a claimed 278 fighter, attack, bomber, and transport jets; 261 attack and transport helicopters; 2,908 tanks and 1,899 artillery pieces; 5,861 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles; 395 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems; 16 boats and cutters; 4,416 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, which have been shot down by Ukrainian air defenses

Fighting for the Donbas 

The Donbas region is home to the fiercest fighting of the war right now. In the fight for the Ukrainian towns of Bakhmut, Avdiivka, and Pavlivka, casualties have run high.

In Pavlivka alone, the Russian 155th Naval Infantry Brigade has reportedly lost as many as 900 troops since September, according to Russian conscripts.

Of that number, about 500 have been killed and 400 wounded. The casualties would amount to approximately one-half of the brigade’s fighting strength. 

Despite spending huge amounts of troops and resources, Russian forces have failed to achieve any meaningful breakthrough in the Donbas. 

Meanwhile, in Zaporizhzhia province, which is located to the southwest of the Donbas, it looks like Russian forces are preparing to evacuate the vast nuclear power plant complex that has been at the center of global attention since war reached it nine months ago.

The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant is the largest in Europe, and Russian forces captured it after a firefight.

Since then, their occupation has included using it as a base for artillery and rest and recuperation.

They know the Ukrainians are unlikely to attack in force out of fear of striking the nuclear parts of the plant.

Ukrainian Helicopter Fleet 

In November, the British military started delivering the first Westland Sea King search and rescue helicopters to Ukraine. 

All in all, Ukrainian forces have received or will be receiving approximately 40 attack, transport, and search-and-rescue helicopters from the West. The biggest donor by far is the U.S. military, which has sent 20 Mi-17 transport helicopters that were originally slated to be delivered to the Afghan Air Force before the Taliban took over that country. 

In addition, the Ukrainian military has or will be getting Mi-2, Mi-17, Mi-24, and Ka-32 attack and transport helicopters from the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Latvia, and Portugal. 

The conflict in Ukraine has not been good for aviation. Neither side has managed to establish air superiority, so the pilots of fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft are forced to fly unconventionally and with caution. Helicopters in particular have been easy targets for anti-aircraft weapons.

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.