On day 386 of the conflict, the Russian forces are still trying to capture Bakhmut in the Donbas.
Although the Ukrainian forces are under increasingly heavy pressure and under fire from three sides, they are still holding, and Kyiv remains committed to fighting for the town.
Wagner Group vs. Russian Military
Meanwhile, the internal conflict between the private military company Wagner Group and the Russian military continues.
The two parties have been struggling for resources and influence for months now.
The battle for Bakhmut has worsened the situation.
After months of failed attempts by the Russian military to take the Ukrainian town, the mercenary group stepped in. Using mass human wave attacks against the Ukrainian positions, the Wagner Group mercenaries managed to gain territory and now the situation looks precarious for the Ukrainian forces.
The group’s tactical successes in and around Bakhmut have emboldened its leadership, particularly its leader and main backer, Yevgeny Prigozhin, who continues to be vocal and critical of the Russian military.
Indeed, the mercenary group, which has been shouldering most of the weight in the fight for Bakhmut, is suffering devastating losses that are likely to limit its ability to conduct meaningful large-scale operations in the future without an infusion of fresh men.
“Since May last year, between 20 – 30,000 Wagner and regular Russian forces have been killed and wounded in the area around Bakhmut alone – a huge loss of human life for a total territorial advance of approximately just 25km,” Ian Stubbs, the U.K. representative to the Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe (OSCE) stated.
Indeed, that rate of casualties translates into approximately 800 Russian troops killed or wounded for about every half a mile.
“Russia’s military leaders have: sacrificed military units, equipment and soldiers; squandered strategic resources for small tactical gains; and doubled-down on flawed strategy and tactics in desperate attempts to save face. Everyone can see the truth. Russia’s military and its defence industry are failing in Ukraine,” Stubbs added.
Historically, that is Russian way of war: throwing men and resources on a target rather than finding more cost-effective ways to fight. A military’s culture will affect the way it fights even if decades pass and more modern weapon systems are introduced. And we can see from Ukraine, the Russian way of war is costly to say the least.
The Russian Casualties
The Russian military and Wagner Group private military company continue to lose men and weapon systems on the ground.
Overall, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Thursday, Ukrainian forces have killed approximately 162,560 Russian troops (and wounded approximately twice to thrice that number)
Destroyed equipment includes: 305 fighter, attack, bomber, and transport jets, 289 attack and transport helicopters, 3,504 tanks, 2,539 artillery pieces, 6,810 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, 503 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 18 boats and cutters, 5,394 vehicles and fuel tanks, 265 anti-aircraft batteries, 2,145 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 257 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 907 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. 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.
Sofronie the Monk
March 16, 2023 at 7:21 pm
Even if half the numbers provided by the Ukranians are correct, good job, keep’em coming!
Jim, 404, can you let us how many billions of Ukrainian and NATO mercenaries have died at the hands of the valiant Red Army? But careful not to go over 8 billion, you’ll run out of humans.
March 16, 2023 at 8:35 pm
The AFU has the uncanny ability to draw the russian fools into the same trap over and over. The real irony is the inability of the orcs to learn from the mountain of bodies they have sent to their death at the hands of Ukraine. Keep up the great work, Vlad.
March 17, 2023 at 1:03 am
Is this supposed to be comedy?
March 17, 2023 at 6:18 am
I remember the Vietnam war on the news when I was a boy. Then there was the daily “body count”…now it is both “body count” and “equipement count”…..
March 17, 2023 at 8:57 am
Morten HJ – ….and I would not be surprised if the figures are as correct as they were then – and didn’t help much on the end result.
The West makes a mistake in continuing the “7 – 1 loss figures” and “Russian mass waves attacks” propaganda – but anything to keep hopes up. Eventually, it may backfire as I am afraid the Russian military leadership isn’t as bad as it is portrayed in the West. Lately, there are signs that their strategy is changing to larger, more sweeping flank movements.
While everybody (referring to ISW) is talking about the Ukrainians fight for Bakhmut is to tie down Russian forces not to give them the opportunity to advance in other locations we now see ominous Russian advances north of Bakhmut, Toretsk and Avdivka, locations which may be as important, or more important, than Bakhmut. Maybe it’s the Russians who benefit most by a prolonged struggle for Bakhmut?
Also, there is no acknowledged theory I know of that the attacker necessarily suffers more than the defender during combat in built-up areas, on the contrary. This depends on what support weapons the two parties have. As I understand it the Russians still have superiority in artillery, etc. which can be used against the known enemy positions.
In my opinion the slow Russian advance in Bakhmut is exactly because they have not used “massed wave attack” tactics. ISW – Institute of War Studies – a US propaganda tool as much as anyone, recently alleged (they usually allege) that the Wagner group has suffered so much during the fight for Bakhmut that they have taken upon them to start an advance north of Bakhmut, as well. IOW, according to ISW, this should prove that the “Wagners” has had extreme losses! Not very logical, is it?
March 17, 2023 at 11:24 pm
Ah, yes…the wondrous Russian and Wagner forces. I suppose the losses are negligible, but what explains the use of conscripts and T-62s? Are the Ukrainian forces so weak that they are comfortable using these? Putin is busy destroying Russia to prove his virility. It much loss IMO, China is just waiting for Russian forces to be attritted to the point that China can recover what they consider to be a Chinese territory in Siberia. Smart move, Putin!