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Russia Seems Like Its Retreating Everywhere in Ukraine

MLRS rocket system. Image Credit: Creative Commons.
MLRS rocket system. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

The war in Ukraine has been going on for 270 days, but the Russian military has achieved little. Ukrainian forces are counterattacking almost all across the battlefield and are steadily gaining more ground.

The incoming winter is bound to slow down the offensive operations, but the Ukrainians have signaled that they will continue to push the Russians back.

Russian Casualties in Ukraine

Overall, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Sunday, Ukrainian forces have killed approximately 84,210 Russian troops (and wounded approximately thrice that number), destroyed 278 fighter, attack, bomber and transport jets, 261 attack and transport helicopters, 2,886 tanks, 1,868 artillery pieces, 5,817 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, 393 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 16 boats and cutters, 4,371 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.

Russian Drone Strike in Ukraine 

Overnight, the Russian military conducted an airstrike against the Motor Sich aviation engine assembly factory in Zaporizhzhia. The Russian military used unmanned aerial systems, most likely Iranian Shahed-136, to take out the aviation engine assembly shop. Before the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2014, which annexed Crimea and occupied large chunks of the Donbas, the Russian military regularly purchased engines for several different types of fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters, and cruise missiles.

The Russian forces have put the Iranian drones they received from Tehran into heavy use. Shahed-136 suicide drones, which are designed for only one-way missions, have been used against Ukrainian urban centers, critical infrastructure, and industrial targets.

Moscow and Tehran have come to an agreement for the manufacturing of drones, such as the Shahed-136, on Russian soil, according to the U.S. Intelligence Community. As Russian forces are increasingly falling back all across the battlefield, Moscow has been using suicide drones and missiles with increased frequency in an attempt to stem the flow of the Ukrainian counteroffensives and also achieve some psychological victories.

The Russian Military is Changing 

Although the Russian forces retreated from the western bank of the Kherson province and from Kherson City, the provincial capital, the withdrawal was in good order, which was a first for the Russian military thus far. Previous retreats from Kyiv, Kherson, and Kharkiv were all chaotic.

“During the retreat, vehicle losses were likely in the tens rather than hundreds, while much kit that was left behind was successfully destroyed by Russian forces to deny it to Ukraine. This relative success is likely partially due to a more effective, single operational command under General Sergei Surovikin. However, the force remains riven by poor junior and mid-level leadership and cover-up culture,” the British Military Intelligence assessed in its latest estimate of the war.

“For example, in recent months two companies subordinate to the Eastern Military District fled after their commander was killed. Other officers likely lied in an attempt to cover up the incident,” 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 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.