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Smart Bombs: Military, Defense and National Security

Putin Has Big Plans to Turn Around His Ukraine War Disaster

Terminator. Image Credit: Russian State Media.
Terminator. Image Credit: Russian State Media.

On day 329 of the conflict, the Russian military isn’t any closer to achieving any of its objectives in Ukraine.

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To change that, Moscow has appointed a new overall commander.

And he is coming in hot with changes. 

Meanwhile, Ukraine lost the leadership of its department of the interior when a helicopter carrying the minister and his staff crashed in Kyiv.

Gerasimov Takes Over Ukraine War

Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin appointed Chief of the General Staff General Valery Gerasimov as the overall commander of Russian troops in Ukraine. 

Gerasimov replaced General Sergei Surovikin, the head of the Russian Aerospace Forces, who had been in charge of the Russian invasion of Ukraine for about three months.

This week, Russia’s top officer issued a set of orders to all troops, soldiers and Wagner Group mercenaries

First, cell phones and tablets are banned. The Ukrainians have expertly used the electronic signatures of mobile and tablet devices to pinpoint the location and activities of Russian troops. They then used this information to target and take out large troop formations, command and control posts, and important weapon systems. 

Second, non-military vehicles are banned. The Russian forces have had to rely on an increasingly large degree of non-military vehicles, either locally acquired or from Russia, as a result of heavy casualties. 

And finally, all troops must be clean-shaven. 

There are some views floating around saying that the order for all troops to be clean-shaven suggests that the Russian military is getting ready for the use of chemical or biological weapons. To be effective, gas masks require an air-tight seal, and facial hair can get in the way.

However, taken as a whole with the rest of the orders, the directive for all troops to be clean-shaven most likely indicates an attempt to enforce discipline in the force in Ukraine. 

The Russian Casualties in Ukraine 

The Russian forces continue to suffer heavy losses, especially around the town of Bakhmut

Overall, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Wednesday, Ukrainian forces have killed approximately 117,770 Russian troops (and wounded approximately twice to thrice that number), destroyed 287 fighter, attack, bomber, and transport jets, 276 attack and transport helicopters, 3,130 tanks, 2,108 artillery pieces, 6,225 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, 442 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 17 boats and cutters, 4,889 vehicles and fuel tanks, 220 anti-aircraft batteries, 1,876 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. 

The fighting goes on 

Meanwhile, the fighting on the ground continues in Ukraine, with heavy fighting taking place around Bakhmut

Although the Russian forces are highly likely in control of Soledar, a small salt mining town to the north of Bakhmut, the fighting for the town is raging hot as both sides pour more men and weapon systems into the fight. 

Ukraine continues to rely on Western military aid to resist Russian aggression.

The Netherlands is the latest country considering sending more weapon systems to Ukraine, specifically a MIM-104 Patriot air defense battery to bolster Kyiv’s air defenses.

Russia keeps lobbing missiles at Ukrainian critical infrastructure and urban centers.

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. 

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.