Ukraine War Update: The Russian forces have made some gains in the direction of Bakhmut, but the Ukrainian military remains in firm control of the town.
On day 321 of the conflict, the Russian military isn’t any closer to achieving the goals than it was yesterday.
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The Russian Casualties in Ukraine
Overall, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Tuesday, Ukrainian forces have killed approximately 112,470 Russian troops (and wounded approximately twice to thrice that number).
Weapons and gear destroyed include: 285 fighter, attack, bomber, and transport jets, 275 attack and transport helicopters, 3,084 tanks, 2,073 artillery pieces, 6,154 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, 434 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 16 boats and cutters, 4,817 vehicles and fuel tanks, 217 anti-aircraft batteries, 1,860 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 183 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 723 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses.
Bakhmut Through Soledar
Meanwhile, the fight for the town of Bakhmut in the Donbas continues.
Although the Russian assault has lost a lot of its steam, the Kremlin keeps throwing men and weapon systems into the fight.
In the last week, the Russian forces have made some gains in the north of Bakhmut around the small town of Soledar. The British Military Intelligence assesses that Russian mercenaries with the private military company Wanger Group are in control of most of the settlement, which is located approximately six miles to the north of Bakhmut.
The Russian advance is likely an attempt to surround Bakhmut from the north and restrict the Ukrainian lines of supply and communication that lead to the town.
But despite the recent gains, the Russian forces are still a good way off from capturing the town.
“Part of the fighting has focused on entrances to the 200km-long disused salt mine tunnels which run underneath the district.
Both sides are likely concerned that they could be used for infiltration behind their lines,” the British Military Intelligence assessed in its latest estimate of the war.
The Ukrainian military is still in firm control of Bakhmut, and this is unlikely to change anytime soon.
“Despite the increased pressure on Bakhmut, Russia is unlikely to envelop the town imminently because Ukrainian forces maintain stable defensive lines in depth and control over supply routes,” the British Military Intelligence added.
Weapon Deliveries and the Upcoming Ukraine Counteroffensives
Last week, Germany announced that it would be sending the 40 Marder 1 infantry fighting vehicles to Ukraine, with the U.S. sending 50 M2/M3 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles. Berlin has now clarified that it will be delivering the weapon systems within the first three months of the year.
In addition, the German military will provide an eight-week course to Ukrainian troops to train them to operate the weapon system.
Meanwhile, voices for more advanced weapon systems in Ukraine continue to grow. After Finland stated that it is willing to send Leopard 2 main battle tanks to Ukraine if another European country joins in the effort, the United Kingdom is reportedly deliberating sending Challenger 2 main battle tanks to Kyiv.
With approximately 18 percent of its pre-2014—when Russia first invaded Ukraine—still under Russian control, Ukraine will need all the help it can get.
The Ukrainian military has shown strategic and tactical offensive expertise. More advanced tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, and armored personnel carriers will help Kyiv in its upcoming counteroffensives.
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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.
January 11, 2023 at 12:26 am
I wonder if the Russian people really understand what Putin is doing? Do they realize that their life hands in the hands of a man that could go suicidal?