Russian Military on the Retreat
Since the early days of September, the Ukrainian forces have liberated large swaths of territory all across the country but especially in the east near Kharkiv and the south in Kherson.
A common theme in most of the Ukrainian counteroffensives was the absence of a robust Russian defensive architecture. The Russian forces weren’t prepared for any significant Ukrainian counterattacks. As such, they hadn’t established secondary defensive lines that they could fall back in case their contact line was breached.
Now that Moscow has accepted the fact that they are playing defense, Russian forces have started setting up major defensive works throughout the areas that they occupy.
“Units have constructed new trench systems near the border of Crimea, as well as near the Siversky-Donets River between Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts. Some of these locations are up to 60km behind the current front line, suggesting that Russian planners are making preparations in case of further major Ukrainian breakthroughs,” the British Military Intelligence assessed in its latest estimate of the war.
“It is likely that Russia will attempt to eventually redeployed some of the forces recovered from Kherson to reinforce and expand its offensive operations near the town of Bakhmut in Donetsk Oblast,” the British Military Intelligence added.
Russian Casualties in Ukraine
The rate of Russian casualties has slowed down over the past few days.
However, overall, the Russian military is suffering unsustainable losses. It is highly doubtful that Moscow will be able to resume large-scale offensive operations if nothing changes in the way that he Russian military operates.
In sharp contrast to the first months of the war, the Ukrainian military now has potent air defenses after the U.S. and other NATO countries supplied Kyiv with anti-aircraft weapon systems and radars.
Most Russian missiles are intercepted and destroyed before they reach their target. And the sanctions placed on the Russian defense and aerospace industries mean that the Russian military can’t replace the missiles it deploys against Ukraine.
Overall, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Friday, Ukrainian forces have killed approximately 83,460 Russian troops (and wounded approximately thrice that number), destroyed 278 fighter, attack, bomber and transport jets, 262 attack and transport helicopters, 2,879 tanks, 1,865 artillery pieces, 5,808 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, 393 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 16 boats and cutters, 4,366 vehicles and fuel tanks, 209 anti-aircraft batteries, 1,536 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.
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 Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP.