The war in Ukraine is in a state of deadlock – but not for long.
On day 333 of the conflict, neither side has managed to gain a decisive upper hand.
The winter weather currently restricts the combatants from large-scale offensive operations, but soon better weather will lift that restriction.
The Russian Casualties
Overall, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Sunday, Ukrainian forces have killed approximately 120,760 Russian troops (and wounded approximately twice to thrice that number)
Weapons and equipment destroyed include 287 fighter, attack, bomber, and transport jets, 277 attack and transport helicopters, 3,145 tanks, 2,144 artillery pieces, 6,268 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, 445 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 17 boats and cutters, 4,932 vehicles and fuel tanks, 220 anti-aircraft batteries, 1,892 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 193 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.
A State of Deadlock in Ukraine?
The battlefield in Ukraine is in a state of deadlock. The fighting continues to take place in three sectors.
In the east, the Ukrainian forces have been trying to capture Kreminna since September. Liberating the town will put them closer to the important logistical hub of Svatove, which lies a few miles to the east. Although the Ukrainian forces have made small gains in the direction of Kreminna, they have failed to reach the town in force. But they have also defended against repeated Russian counterattacks.
In the south, the Russian forces have been bolstering their defenses on the eastern bank of the Dnipro River in Kherson in anticipation of a Ukrainian amphibious operation.
In addition, both sides had amassed forces in Zaporizhzhia province, but besides skirmishes and artillery shelling, they haven’t engaged in large-scale combat.
But the fiercest fighting is taking place in the Donbas, around Bakhmut.
The Russian forces are highly likely in control of the small salt mining town of Soledar just to the north of Bakhmut, but they are struggling to reach the town itself.
“Overall, the conflict is in a state of deadlock. However, there is a realistic possibility of local Russian advances around Bakhmut,” the British Military Intelligence assessed in one of its recent estimates of the war.
The Russian military continues to bolster the defenses of Moscow, most likely in anticipation of further Ukrainian attacks within Russia.
After installing a Pantsir-S1 air defense system on top of the Ministry of Defense, the Russian military has now installed a second one on top of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in downtown Moscow.
It is still unclear what made the Kremlin take such precautionary actions.
However, the Ukrainians have shown a willingness and ability to strike strategic targets in innovative ways.
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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.