Putin’s military machine was supposed to conquer Ukraine in days in what many thought to be a war of speed and power. Instead, many are now questioning if Russia can hold on to the small pieces of the territory it has tried to conquer:
It has been 264 days since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began. On Monday, the Ukrainian forces are consolidating their positions in newly liberated Kherson City and the western bank of the Dnipro River.
Over the weekend, the Ukrainian forces entered Kherson City in the wake of the Russian military’s withdrawal from the western bank of the Dnipro River. The Ukrainian forces are now consolidating their positions and going through the quantities of materiel that the Russian forces left behind. However, since this was a rather orderly withdrawal and not under the pressure of Ukrainian tanks and armored columns, the Russians managed to salvage a lot of gear.
“The Russians are not setting conditions for a relaxation of hostilities for the rest of the fall and into the winter but rather are launching a new offensive in Donetsk Oblast. The Ukrainians will likely use combat power recouped from the liberation of western Kherson to reinforce their ongoing counter-offensive in Luhansk Oblast or to open a new counter-offensive drive elsewhere,” the Institute for the Study of War assessed in its latest operational update.
In the east, the Ukrainian forces push with their counteroffensive toward Kreminna and the key logistical hub of Svatove.
The Donbas is the only place where the Russian military is still conducting offensive operations. However, its attacks against Bakhmut and Avdiivka have repeatedly failed. The Ukrainian defenses continue to hold against the waves of Russian mercenaries from the infamous Wagner Group, which has been taking the lead in that sector of the battlefield.
Russian casualties in Ukraine: Update
Every day, the Ukrainian military is providing an update on their claimed Russian casualties. These numbers are official figures and haven’t been separately verified.
However, Western intelligence assessments and independent reporting corroborate, to a certain extent, the Ukrainian casualty claims. For example, the Oryx open-source intelligence research page has visually verified the destruction or capture of more than 1,400 Russian tanks (which amounts to more tanks than the combined armor capabilities of France, Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom) and more than 5,300 military vehicles of all types; this assessment has been confirmed by the British Ministry of Defense.
The same independent verification exists for most of the other Ukrainian claims. Recently, the Pentagon acknowledged that the Russian military has lost thousands of combat vehicles of all types, including over 1,000 tanks, and dozens of fighter jets and helicopters.
Furthermore, more recent reports that are citing Western intelligence officials indicate that the Russian military has suffered more than 100,000 casualties (killed and wounded) in the war so far.
In the summer, Sir Tony Radakin, the British Chief of the Defence Staff, had told the BBC that the West understands that more than 50,000 Russian troops have been killed or wounded in the conflict thus far. If we were to take the Ukrainian figures as accurate, the number mentioned by Sir Radakin is on the low side of the spectrum.
In November, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley shared the U.S. military’s assessment that the Russian military has lost more than 100,000 troops so far in the war.
Yet, it is very hard to verify the actual numbers unless one is on the ground. However, after adjusting for the fog of war and other factors, the Western official numbers are fairly close to the Ukrainian claims.
As of Monday, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense is claiming the following Russian casualties:
81,370 Russian troops killed (approximately three times that number wounded and captured)
5,748 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles destroyed
4,316 vehicles and fuel tanks
1,839 artillery pieces
1,509 tactical unmanned aerial systems
278 fighter, attack, and transport jets
393 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS)
261 attack and transport helicopters
399 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses
206 anti-aircraft batteries
160 special equipment platforms, such as bridging equipment
16 boats and cutters
four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems
On Monday, Ukrainian forces continued to inflict the heaviest in the direction of Bakhmut, which is located in the south of the Donbas, and in Kherson province.
The stated goal of the Russian military for the renewed offensive in the east is to establish full control over the pro-Russian breakaway territories of Donetsk and Luhansk and create and maintain a land corridor between these territories and the occupied Crimea.
This first appeared in Sandboxx.