Despite the Russian pressure, the Ukrainian defenses are holding fast.
And soon, Ukraine will be able to launch its own large-scale counter-offensive.
Russian Casualties in Ukraine
Despite calling up more than 300,000 reservists in September, the Kremlin is likely to resort to additional force-generation measures to bolster the Russian numbers.
According to the U.S. Intelligence Community, Russian President Vladimir Putin is contemplating an additional mobilization of reservists to fill the gaps created by casualties and to also give the Russian military more offensive capabilities in Ukraine.
An additional mobilization, however, would most likely come with a political cost, and that is why Putin hasn’t called one yet.
Destroyed equipment includes: 299 fighter, attack, bomber, and transport jets, 287 attack and transport helicopters, 3,350 tanks, 2,352 artillery pieces, 6,593 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, 471 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 18 boats and cutters, 5,215 vehicles and fuel tanks, 244 anti-aircraft batteries, 2,029 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.
Heavy Fighting on the Ground
The heavy fighting on the ground continues.
Over the past two days, the Russian forces have launched repeated assaults against Bakhmut in the Donbas in an attempt to bend the Ukrainian defenses.
The Kremlin likely aimed to capture the Ukrainian town by February 24 to mark the one-year anniversary of the conflict.
However, the Ukrainian defenses continue to hold despite significant casualties.
Right now, the Russian forces are attacking mainly from the north and south in an attempt to cut off the Ukrainian lines of communication and supply that lead into the city.
Despite the Russian pressure, the Ukrainians have thus far managed to keep the resupply routes to the west of the country open.
Although the Ukrainian defenses continue to hold, the Russian forces have advanced over the past six weeks.
But the Russian forces are attacking in the south of the Donbas, too, in the direction of Vuhledar.
The Russian military is launching heavy artillery barrages against the Ukrainian positions, most likely in order to prepare the environment for another major assault.
The Russian Eastern Group of Forces has failed twice to capture the town with heavy losses.
“Its commander, Colonel General Rustam Muradov, is likely under intense pressure to improve results following harsh criticism from the Russian nationalist community after previous setbacks,” the British Military Intelligence assessed in its latest estimate of the war.
The British Military Intelligence, however, assessed that the Russian commander doesn’t have the necessary offensive capabilities to achieve a breakthrough.
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.