Despite localized gains, they are thus far failing.
On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin made an address to the Russian Federal Assembly.
During his speech, Putin announced that Russia would be withdrawing from the New START Treaty.
Signed in 2010 by U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, the New START Treaty limited the number of deployed strategic nuclear warheads the two countries could have. It was set to expire in 2026.
Putin made clear that he intends to continue with the war, thus closing the door of negotiations, at least for the time being.
“Putin continues to present a contradictory narrative of existential struggle while insisting everything in Russia is fine and going to plan.
This renders both messages ineffective,” the British Military Intelligence assessed in its latest estimate of the war.
But besides the announcement on the suspension of the New START Treaty, Putin didn’t really say anything new.
As usual, Putin also attacked the West for its ideals and support to Ukraine. Despite the aggressive tone of his speech, Putin didn’t offer any practical solutions to the many problems that the Russian forces are facing on the ground.
Indeed, it is very likely that the Kremlin will continue with the same flawed strategy of attrition.
The Russian forces continue to suffer extremely heavy casualties for almost no territorial gains.
All the while, the Ukrainians are biding their time and bolstering their arsenal with the intent of launching a major counteroffensive later in the year.
“Russian President Vladimir Putin’s February 21 address to the Russian Federal Assembly did not articulate specific goals or intentions for the war in Ukraine, instead reinforcing several long-standing rhetorical lines in an effort to buy Putin more space and time for a protracted war,” the Institute for the Study of War assessed in its latest operational update on the war.
Russian Casualties in Ukraine: Update
The Russian forces continue to lose men in Ukraine but have very little to show for it.
Overall, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Wednesday, Ukrainian forces have killed approximately 145,060 Russian troops (and wounded approximately twice to thrice that number)
Equipment destroyed includes: 299 fighter, attack, bomber, and transport jets, 287 attack and transport helicopters, 3,334 tanks, 2,345 artillery pieces, 6,569 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, 471 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 18 boats and cutters, 5,212 vehicles and fuel tanks, 243 anti-aircraft batteries, 2,026 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 226 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 873 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses.
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. His work has been featured in Business Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP.