The war in Ukraine is flaring up as the Russian military is trying to capture the Donbas. On day 349 of the war, the Russian forces are still looking for a breakthrough that would bring them closer to achieving their goals in Ukraine.
(Subscribe to 19FortyFive‘s New YouTube Channel here.)
The fiercest fighting is taking place in the town of Bakhmut in the Donbas.
Fighting For Bakhmut
For the better part of seven months, the Ukrainian military has been putting up fierce resistance in Bakhmut. But the Russian forces have been moving closer every day, though at the cost of tens of thousands of troops.
Initially, the Russian forces tried to capture the town with frontal assaults. But that got them nowhere, and the Russian commanders had to adjust their approach and concentrate on the flanks. After the capture of the small salt mining town of Soledar to the north of Bakhmut, the Russian forces are now concentrating their efforts to the south in an apparent attempt to encircle the town.
The two main highways that lead into the town (M03 and H32) are now threatened by direct Russian fire, thus jeopardizing the Ukrainian lines of communication.
“While multiple alternative cross-country supply routes remain available to Ukrainian forces, Bakhmut is increasingly isolated,” the British Military Intelligence assessed earlier this week.
In the first months of the assault against Bakhmut, the Russian military had the lead in Ukraine.
Then, after weeks of little to no progress, the infamous private military company Wagner Group assumed the primary role in the attack.
Using waves of convicts, Wagner Group managed to move closer to the town, but with horrific casualties.
The Russian military is back in command of the operation, though Wagner Group does maintain a supporting role.
Ironically, Bakhmut doesn’t have any strategic value. It is just another town in the Donbas, and the Ukrainian forces could easily set up new defenses to the west. However, Bakhmut has become a political and psychological objective. For the Ukrainians, holding on to Bakhmut means that large Russian forces can’t attack elsewhere—at least for the time being. For the Russians, capturing Bakhmut will give Russian President Vladimir Putin a much-needed political victory.
Russian Casualties in Ukraine
The Russian forces continue to bleed out in Ukraine, suffering horrible daily losses. Right now, the Kremlin is losing, on average, 700 men every single day.
Overall, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Tuesday, Ukrainian forces have killed approximately 133,190 Russian troops (and wounded approximately twice to thrice that number),
Destroyed equipment includes: 294 fighter, attack, bomber, and transport jets, 284 attack and transport helicopters, 3,245 tanks, 2,232 artillery pieces, 6,443 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, 461 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 18 boats and cutters, 5,107 vehicles and fuel tanks, 227 anti-aircraft batteries, 1,958 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 208 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 796 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses.
U.S. and Western estimates put the Russian casualties in Ukraine close to 200,000.
MORE: Ukraine Needs M1 Abrams Tanks Now (But Will Have to Wait)
MORE: Joe Biden Won’t Send F-16 Fighters to Ukraine
MORE: Why Putin Should Fear the F-16 Fighter
MORE: Why Donald Trump Can’t Win in 2024
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.
February 7, 2023 at 8:13 pm
Hey Stavros, how’s the war going for you? You know, the one you’ve been proclaiming a couple times a day has been won by Ukrainians who are defying physics and military science alike?
Yeah, back here in reality the Russians continue to attrit the Ukrainians, and as Ukraine within NATO is an existential threat to the existence of a Russian state, they will fight for as long as necessary to prevent this existential threat from materializing.
February 8, 2023 at 7:21 am
how is it that the Mossad reports Ukrainian losses in the range of 150,000 to 250,000 soldiers, and Russia’s losses in the region of 40-50 thousand.
Somehow this information does not agree with the official reports of the Ukrainian government. But the Mossad is an authoritative source, and Ukraine has been caught many times in outright lies.
February 8, 2023 at 10:17 am
UK Ministry of Defence are a reliable source and they estimate Russian losses – dead AND injured – in the region of 200,000. Ukrainian losses are likely to be in the same ballpark but probably less as the Russians don’t mind throwing numbers into frontal assaults and there’s always plenty more available from the rural areas.
February 8, 2023 at 3:14 pm
The more Russians that Putin feeds into the sausage grinder, the more conscripts will use their weapons against their officers and leave the war.
Ukraine will never lack for volunteers willing to kill Russians, but the Russians will run out of conscripts willing to obediently die for nothing.