The Russian Casualties in Ukraine: Big Update
The Russian forces continue to suffer heavy casualties on the ground. In the past 24 hours, the Ukrainians are claiming to have killed 740 Russian troops and destroyed 13 vehicles and fuel tanks, seven armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, and four tanks.
Overall, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Wednesday, Ukrainian forces have killed approximately 96,000 Russian troops (and wounded approximately twice to thrice that number), destroyed 281 fighter, attack, bomber, and transport jets, 264 attack and transport helicopters, 2,970 tanks, 1,931 artillery pieces, 5,937 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, 404 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 16 boats and cutters, 4,562 vehicles and fuel tanks, 211 anti-aircraft batteries, 1,617 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 171 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 592 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses.
Patriots Batteries to Ukraine?
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is very likely to approve the transfer of one MIM-104 Patriot battery to Ukraine later this week.
According to defense officials, the weapon system will come out of the stocks of the U.S. military and will be moved to Ukraine from an overseas U.S. base—most likely in Europe to expedite the process.
One MIM-104 Patriot battery is comprised of a truck-mounted weapon system that includes up to eight launchers, each capable of carrying four missiles.
The MIM-104 Patriot is the main air defense weapon system of the U.S. military, with U.S. forces operating hundreds of them. The air defense weapon system is also popular worldwide, with thousands of MIM-104 Patriot batteries in service among NATO members and partners.
The shipment of the MIM-104 Patriot will be a much-needed respite to the Ukrainian air defenses that have been dealing with almost daily attacks from Russia. Since early October, the Russian military has launched more than 1,000 ballistic and cruise missiles against Ukrainian targets.
Many parts of Ukraine are without electricity, water, internet, and heat as Moscow has sought to dismantle the Ukrainian energy grid to put more pressure on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
The U.S. and NATO have already sent Ukraine air defense systems, including the National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile (NASAMS), provided by the U.S. military and with a 100 percent interception rate so far, the IRIS-T SLM System, provided by Germany, and Stormer anti-aircraft vehicles, provided by the United Kingdom.
However, Ukraine needs more to deal with the Russian missile attacks.
Although the Pentagon has awarded Raytheon a $1.5 billion contract for the procurement of six NASAMS, the Ukrainian military won’t receive the air defense weapon systems till two years later, when the war might well be over.
Ukraine needs air defense systems right now to deal with the massive missile and drone barrages that the Russian forces launch against Ukrainian cities and critical infrastructure.
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.