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On the 303rd day of the conflict, most of the fighting occurs in the Donbas in the towns of Bakhmut and Avdiivka.
The Russian Casualties in Ukraine: Update
The Russian military is suffering heavy casualties on the ground. Most of the Russian fatalities are taking place around the towns of Bakhmut and Avdiivka in the Donbas. Moscow has been trying to capture both since the summer but has failed to achieve anything more than advancing a few miles and capturing some small settlements on the outskirts of the cities.
But the cost for these “successes” has been truly horrific.
The Russian forces are losing an average of 500 men killed every day, with many more wounded. Moscow is drawing from its recently mobilized reservists and Wagner Group mercenaries to support the offensive operations in the area. For the Russian leadership, these are cheap, expendable troops, especially Wagner Group’s former convicts.
Overall, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Friday, Ukrainian forces have killed approximately 100,950 Russian troops (and wounded approximately twice to thrice that number), destroyed 283 fighter, attack, bomber, and transport jets, 267 attack and transport helicopters, 3,005 tanks, 1,984 artillery pieces, 5,986 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, 414 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 16 boats and cutters, 4,622 vehicles and fuel tanks, 211 anti-aircraft batteries, 1,698 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.
How the MIM-104 Patriot Works
In the latest package of military aid to Ukraine worth $1.85 billion, the U.S. included a battery of MIM-104 Patriot air defense system.
The MIM-104 Patriot is a surface-to-air missile defense system capable of engaging enemy aircraft, unmanned aerial systems, and ballistic and cruise missiles up to 100 miles away. Each missile packs a 200lb high-fragmentation explosive warhead and can engage targets flying up to 79,000 feet.
The MIM-104 Patriot is comprised of three components: the radar, the command and control post, and the actual missile battery.
The radar detects and tracks the incoming target and directs the missile toward it. The command and control post is where the crew of the battery manages the engagement. And the battery is from where the missiles launch.
To increase the survivability of the crew and the weapon system, the three components of the weapon system can be dispersed, but they still have to remain within a certain distance.
The Ukrainians will most likely position the MIM-104 Patriot battery around key cities or critical infrastructure in order to prevent their further destruction by incoming Russian drones and ballistic and cruise missiles. But if Kyiv decided to move the potent air defense system closer to the frontlines, the Russian aircraft would be even more restricted than they are now.
But the Ukrainians have to be weary of Russian artillery too if they choose to place the battery closer to the front.
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.