Despite heavy casualties and repeated setbacks almost all across the battlefield, Russian forces continue to pour men and weapon systems into the meat grinder the war in Ukraine has become.
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On day 328 of the conflict, the Russian military isn’t any closer to achieving any of its objectives.
The Russian Casualties in Ukraine
For yet another day, the Russian military continues to suffer heavy losses in Ukraine. Both the Russian military and the private military company Wagner Group are losing men left and right, especially in the fight for Bakhmut in the Donbas.
Overall, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Tuesday, Ukrainian forces have killed approximately 116,950 Russian troops (and wounded approximately twice to thrice that number), destroyed 286 fighter, attack, bomber, and transport jets, 276 attack and transport helicopters, 3,121 tanks, 2,104 artillery pieces, 6,215 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, 441 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 17 boats and cutters, 4,877 vehicles and fuel tanks, 220 anti-aircraft batteries, 1,872 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 190 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 749 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses.
Russian Black Sea Fleet Under Attack?
Last Wednesday, the Russian Navy urgently evacuated the Novorossiysk Naval Facility, which is located west of Crimea on the Russian Black Sea coast.
According to the British Military Intelligence, at least 10 Russian warships departed the naval facility at the same time.
The manner, time, and number of vessels that left port suggests that the Russian Navy was afraid of an incoming Ukrainian attack.
“It is unlikely that the deployment signifies preparation for unusual maritime-launched cruise-missile strikes.
It is highly unlikely that the fleet is preparing for amphibious assault operations,” the British Military Intelligence assessed in a recent operational update on the war.
Since the war started, the Ukrainian military and intelligence services have managed to strike deep within Russia time and again, including against the Novorossiysk Naval Facility and Sevastopol port, in occupied Crimea.
As a result of these attacks, the Russian Navy’s Black Sea Fleet has been largely limited to force protection rather than conducting offensive operations or patrols against Ukraine.
The Russian Navy continues to play an active role in the conflict, mainly through its nuclear and conventional submarines. Moscow has been using these vessels to launch ballistic and cruise missiles against Ukrainian critical infrastructure and urban centers.
Ever since the Ukrainian military managed to sink the Russian Navy’s Black Sea Fleet flagship, the Moskva missile-guided cruiser, in April, Moscow has been very careful with its warships.
“Most Significant Package of Combat Power to Date”
Over the weekend, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced that it would be sending Challenger 2 main battle tanks to Ukraine. On Monday, the British government said that it would be sending AS90 155 self-propelled howitzers too. Now, British Defense Minister Ben Wallace has provided even more information for what he called the “most significant package of combat power to date.”
All in all, the U.K. is sending Ukraine a squadron of 14 Challenger 2 tanks, 8 AS90 howitzers (with the prospect of sending 30 eventually), more than 100 armored vehicles, dozens of tactical unmanned aircraft, 100,000 artillery rounds, hundreds of “sophisticated missiles,” including Starstreak air defense missiles and GMLRS rockets for the M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) and M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS).
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.