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Smart Bombs: Military, Defense and National Security

Winter Means Big Trouble for Putin’s Disaster of a War in Ukraine

Russian TOS-1 Buratino. Image: Creative Commons.
Image: Creative Commons.

Winter has come for Ukraine: Winter has fallen over Ukraine as the war is approaching its tenth month.

For the Ukrainians, the snow and ice bring opportunities for more attacks; whereas for the Russians, the winter offers much-needed respite for a war gone horribly wrong.

General Winter 

The Ukrainian military looks at the winter with promise.

The hardening of the snow as the temperatures fall makes the battlefield ideal for offensive maneuvers for a well-equipped military. It is the force with inadequate winter gear that will suffer the most. But the Ukrainians are equipped and ready.

The Ukrainian military has shown that it is committed to its ongoing counter-offensive.

Even in November, when the last rains of the fall gave room to the early snows of the winter and the ground became a sea of mud, the Ukrainians continued to attack.

The hard freeze of the ground that usually comes in the last days of the year in Ukraine will only make the conditions easier for a Ukrainian military that is supported with gear by the U.S. and the West.

“Weather conditions in winter 2023 likely will dictate a timeframe in which Ukraine can conduct maneuver warfare and continue its string of operational successes with minimal pauses that would increase the risks of Ukraine losing the initiative,” the Institute for the Study of War assessed in one of its recent estimates of the war.

A D.C.-based think tank, the Institute for the Study of War has emerged as an authoritative analyst of the war in Ukraine.

The Ukrainian commanders know that the spring will bring the notorious Rasputitsa mud season, which will hinder any large-scale offensive operation. So, winter is the only time that the Ukrainians can really push at the Russians before summer.

On the other side, the Russian forces are digging in all across Ukraine and hope to last the winter without any other major losses.

The Situation on the Ground in Ukraine

Meanwhile, things aren’t going well for the Russian forces on the ground. Rain, mud, sun, or snow, the Russian military continues to suffer extremely heavy casualties on the battlefield.

In November alone, the Russian forces lost approximately 15,000 men killed, according to official Ukrainian estimates.

To be sure, there is some discrepancy between the Ukrainian and Western assessments of Russian casualties, but independently verified visual footage indicates large numbers of Russian casualties.

The Ukrainians have been using innovative methods to keep their adversaries constantly on edge. Small commercial drones have been especially prevalent on the Ukrainian side. The Ukrainian forces will attach small 60mm mortar rounds on the drones, hover over the Russian positions, and drop the munitions on the unsuspecting Russian troops, who are resisting in their trenches.

In one instance, a couple of Russian soldiers on the frontlines in Bakhmut caught fire after a Ukrainian drone attacked and ignited ammunition on the ground.

Although the 60mm mortar round can only kill the target or wound someone in the immediate vicinity, the constant fear of attack is taking a toll on Russian morale.

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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.