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Putin’s Disaster: The Russian Military Is Bleeding to Death in Ukraine

Ukraine TOS-1A
TOS-1A. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

For the Russian military, the month of November was the deadliest in the war in Ukraine so far.

According to the official Ukrainian numbers, the Russian forces lost more than 15,000 troops killed and hundreds of tanks and artillery pieces, and other weapon systems in the past 30 days or so.

Russian Casualties in November in Ukraine

The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense assesses that in November alone, its forces killed more than 16,400 troops, which means that the Ukrainians wounded between 32,800 and 49,000 Russians, if we go off from the standard one killed for three wounded formula.

Moreover, the Ukrainians claim to have destroyed or captured 371 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, 286 vehicles and fuel tanks, 216 tanks, 172 artillery pieces, 147 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 134 cruise missiles, 13 anti-aircraft batteries, 12 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 9 special equipment platforms, 4 fighter, bomber, and transport aircraft, and 4 helicopters.

To be sure, the Ukrainian numbers are open to interpretation. But open source intelligence corroborates up to a certain point. Recently, U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley assessed that Russia had lost more than 100,000 troops in the war so far.

Although the Russian forces on the ground are suffering extremely heavy casualties, the Russian leadership doesn’t seem willing to change up its tactics or strategy and keeps on making the same costly mistakes.

The Fight for Bakhmut

Most of the Russian casualties have taken place in the Donbas, in the vicinity of Bakhmut and Avdiivka. The Russian forces have been trying to capture the Ukrainian city for months now. Although they have recently gained some ground in the north and south of Bakhmut, the city still remains firmly in Ukrainian hands.

“There’s a lot of significance about Bakhmut. You know, first of all, it’s a pretty decent intersection of road and rail, and so from a logistics standpoint and the ability to press off, Bakhmut offers an opportunity to go in a bunch of different directions,” a senior U.S. defense official recently said on Pentagon press briefing.

In those numbers, there are at least 1,500 officers, including close to 160 generals and colonels, that have been killed in the war so far. The Russian model of command limits junior officers from taking the initiative, so more senior officers tend to be closer to the front in order to better direct units. But that makes them an easier target for the Ukrainian forces.

Moreover, the precision strike capabilities of the Ukrainians, particularly the M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) and the M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) that both use the Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS), have offered the Ukrainian forces the ability to target with precision Russian command and control posts that are often packed with senior officers. During one such instance, the Ukrainian forces reportedly even targeted Russia’s top military officer, General Valery Gerasimov, in the Donbas.

As the war continues, the number of Russian casualties will only go up in Ukraine.

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.