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Putin Is Trapped: The War in Ukraine Is a Disaster for Russia

HIMARS Attack. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

Ten months ago, the Russian military launched its invasion of Ukraine. Tens of thousands of dead and wounded, thousands of destroyed weapon systems, and 304 days later, the Russian forces are no closer to achieving any of their primary objectives

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The Russian invasion of Ukraine has thus far been an absolute disaster for the Russian military and a personal humiliation for Russian President Vladimir Putin. 

No End in Sight and No Clear Picture 

Despite the repeated failures of the Russian forces on the ground, the Russian leader seems ready to take the war to the end.

The Kremlin has signaled that the conflict could last months, if not years. In a sense, Putin is trapped in a war that looks unwinnable for him. 

But Putin doesn’t always have a clear picture of what is going on the battlefield, and this disadvantage in information has severely hamstrung Russian operations and is one of the main reasons why the invasion went so badly for the Kremlin. 

Putin is largely to blame for this. For the past 20 years, he has created a corrupt chain of command that favors those who bring good news to the leader, even if that news are fabricated or spun to reflect what Putin wants to hear.

So, instead of being welcomed with flowers and open arms by the Ukrainians, as the Russian FSB intelligence service had assessed, the Russian troops got bullets and FGM-148 Javelin anti-tank missiles instead. 

The Fighting 

Most of the fighting nowadays takes place in Bakhmut in the south of the Donbas. 

The Russian forces continue to push hard against Bakhmut in an attempt to capture it. The Ukrainian town has little strategic importance. Bakhmut is an important but regional logistical hub, and the Ukrainian forces can fall back a few miles to the west to a more defensible position.

But the town in the south of Donbas has become a political trophy, especially for a Kremlin desperate for some victories to justify the increasing cost of the war to an increasingly war-weary population. 

The Russian forces have an advantage in artillery numbers and ammunition, but after ten months of fighting, even Moscow is running low on ammo and has to turn to allies and partners, including North Korea and Iran, for help. 

100,000 Dead in Ukraine 

The Russian forces continue to suffer heavy casualties, with the private military company Wagner Group shouldering most of the losses right now.

Wagner Group is relying on tens of thousands of former convicts, which it perceives as expendable cannon fodder, to attrite the Ukrainian defenders.

Overall, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Saturday, Ukrainian forces have killed approximately 101,430 Russian troops (and wounded approximately twice to thrice that number), destroyed 283 fighter, attack, bomber, and transport jets, 267 attack and transport helicopters, 3,006 tanks, 1,988 artillery pieces, 5,994 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, 418 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 16 boats and cutters, 4,627 vehicles and fuel tanks, 211 anti-aircraft batteries, 1,706 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 178 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 653 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses

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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.