Ukraine War Update: Although the Ukrainian town of Bakhmut has been at the center of the fighting for the past weeks, the Russian forces have also been trying to gain ground in the east. However, despite repeated assaults, the Russian military has failed to achieve anything significant.
On day 394 of the war in Ukraine, the Russian forces are still looking for an operational breakthrough.
There Is Fighting in the East Too
Starting in March, the Russian military began a small-scale offensive along the Svatove-Kreminna line of contact in the east of Kharkiv. The offensive operation aims to reclaim lost territory.
In one of its most recent estimates on the war, the British Military Intelligence assessed that the Russian forces in the east are trying to reach Kupyansk and recapture the critical logistical node. The loss of the town last September during the lightning Ukrainian counteroffensive seriously restricted Russian offensive operations not only in the area but in the Donbas too.
The Russian assaults have managed to partially regain some control of the roads that lead to Kreminna but have largely failed to push the Ukrainians back to a safe distance.
“In places, Russia has made gains of up to several kilometres. Russian commanders are likely trying to expand a security zone west from the defence lines they have prepared along higher ground, and integrate the natural obstacle of the Oskil River,” the British Military Intelligence assessed.
If the Ukrainian military captures Kreminna and Svatove, Russian operations in the area would be severely hampered because of the loss of an additional two logistical nodes.
“Operationally, Russia’s intent in the north-east likely remains defensive. Commanders probably fear this is one of the sectors where Ukraine could attempt major offensive operations,” the British Military Intelligence added.
Meanwhile, the Russian forces continue to suffer extremely heavy casualties.
The Russian Casualties in Ukraine
The past 24 hours have been particularly deadly for the Russian forces.
According to the Ukrainian estimates, which are corroborated to a certain degree by Western intelligence assessments, the Russian military and Wagner Group mercenary forces lost more than 1,000 troops killed and wounded in the past day of fighting. And in the past five days, the Russian forces have lost more than 4,200 troops killed or wounded.
This rate of casualties would be unthinkable before the start of the war, especially considering that during ten years of conflict in Afghanistan in the 1970s and 1980s, the Russian military lost 15,000 men killed.
Overall, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Friday, Ukrainian forces have killed approximately 169,170 Russian troops (and wounded approximately twice to thrice that number),
Destroyed equipment includes: 305 fighter, attack, bomber, and transport jets, 290 attack and transport helicopters, 3,574 tanks, 2,616 artillery pieces, 6,921 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, 511 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 18 boats and cutters, 5,464 vehicles and fuel tanks, 276 anti-aircraft batteries, 2,208 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 277 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 909 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses.
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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. His work has been featured in Business Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP.
March 25, 2023 at 6:56 pm
Strategically Offensive, Tactically Defensive
Getting the enemy to make frontal assaults on your prepared defensive positions gives you a 3 to 1 strategic advantage before you take into consideration the combat power of western smart weapons. Ukrainian forces have a 10 to 1 advantage where western smart weapons are freely used.
Combat Power rule of thumb: 1 smart weapon = 500 dumb weapons