In the past week alone, the Russian forces have lost close to 5,000 men in what has been the deadliest week of the war in Ukraine.
Russian Casualties in Ukraine
Saturday was the deadliest day in the war so far for Russian troops in Ukraine.
According to official Ukrainian estimates, the Russian forces lost 1,140 killed or wounded in the past 24 hours.
To be sure, the Ukrainian estimates could be off, but the overall numbers that the Ukrainians are claiming are corroborated to a large degree by U.S. and Western intelligence estimates.
The heavy casualties that the Russian military is taking are bound to catch up sooner or later.
The Kremlin has created a reserve force of around 150,000 troops. The Russian Ministry of Defense has been maintaining that force as a strategic reserve.
Since October, it has been training and equipping that force for future large-scale offensive operations.
Destroyed equipment inclides 295 fighter, attack, bomber, and transport jets, 286 attack and transport helicopters, 3,267 tanks, 2,270 artillery pieces, 6,474 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, 463 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 18 boats and cutters, 5,134 vehicles and fuel tanks, 234 anti-aircraft batteries, 1,997 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 214 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 857 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses.
The Fighting for Bakhmut and Vuhledar
After capturing the small salt mining of Soledar in the north of the Bakhmut, the Russian forces have advanced a few kilometers to the north of the town.
The infamous private military company Wagner Group has pushed between 1-2 miles to the west of the northern outskirts of Bakhmut.
It controls the countryside close the highway M-03, which is one of the main supply routes leading into the town.
There is also heavy fighting in the south of the Donbas, especially around the town of Vuhledar. The Russian forces have been trying to capture the town for several months now, but have repeatedly failed, suffering heavy casualties in the process.
“Russian units have likely suffered particularly heavy casualties around Vuhledar as inexperienced units have been committed. Russian troops likely fled and abandoned at least 30 mostly intact armoured vehicles in a single incident after a failed assault,” the British Military Intelligence assessed in its latest estimate of the war in Ukraine.
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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. He is currently working towards a Master’s Degree in Strategy and Cybersecurity at the Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). His work has been featured in Business Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP.