The Russian forces are pushing hard to capture Bakhmut in the Donbas but are failing at the cost of thousands of troops.
Russian Casualties in Ukraine: Updated
In November alone, the Russian forces lost more than 15,000 men killed in action and hundreds of tanks, armored personnel carriers, artillery pieces, and other weapon systems.
Overall, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Saturday, Ukrainian forces have killed approximately 90,600 Russian troops (and wounded approximately twice to thrice that number), destroyed 280 fighter, attack, bomber, and transport jets, 263 attack and transport helicopters, 2,917 tanks, 1,906 artillery pieces, 5,886 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, 395 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 16 boats and cutters, 4,472 vehicles and fuel tanks, 210 anti-aircraft batteries, 1,572 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.
Patriot Anti-Aircraft Weapons to Ukraine?
Russia’s repeated drone and missile attacks against the Ukrainian urban centers and critical infrastructure since September have caused significant damage to Kyiv.
Millions of Ukrainians are without electricity, internet service, and heat. With the heavy Ukrainian winter just around the corner, the effects of the Russian missile attacks are magnified.
The U.S. and other NATO countries have sent anti-aircraft weapon systems and sensors to Ukraine to bolster its air defense capabilities.
Ukraine has been specifically asking for the MIM-104 Patriot missile defense system, which is the main anti-aircraft weapon system in the U.S. military and in widespread use in NATO.
However, the U.S. has been reluctant to send the weapon system to Ukraine.
“In terms of any type of Patriot battery from the U.S. Right now, we have no plans to provide Patriot batteries to Ukraine. But again, we’ll continue to have those discussions. And when and if there’s something to announce on that front, we will,” Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Brigadier General Pat Ryder said recently during a press briefing.
Ryder added that the Pentagon is in close consultation with the Ukrainians to ensure that their needs are met within reason.
Germany has forward deployed the Patriot missile defense system to Poland after a Russian missile that was intercepted by Ukraine crashed into Poland and killed two civilians.
But the Pentagon did send the MIM-23 Hawk anti-aircraft weapon system, a medium-range surface-to-air weapon system, and the AN/TWQ-1 Avenger, a short-range air defense system.
The U.S. military has also sent thousands of FIM-92 Stinger shouldered-fired anti-aircraft missiles.
“Hawk is a mobile, medium range air defense capability to deny Russian aircraft and missiles flying at high altitudes. The missiles will compliment Spain’s recent commitment of Hawk launchers. Avenger is a mobile, short-range air defense system that will improve Ukraine’s ability to protect Ukrainian troops and critical infrastructure against unmanned aerial systems and helicopters,” a senior U.S. defense official said.
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 Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP.