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Smart Bombs: Military, Defense and National Security

Putin’s War in Ukraine Is Starting To Look Pretty Desperate

The heavy fighting for Bakhmut continues. The Wagner Group mercenary group continues to lead the offensive against the town. 

Ukraine Twitter Screenshot
Ukraine War Twitter Screenshot.

The fighting in Ukraine continues. On day 399 of the war, the two militaries are fighting hard for the town of Bakhmut.

In addition, the Russian forces continue to run out of the necessary modern weapon systems to fight effectively on the ground. 

The Battle of Bakhmut 

The heavy fighting for Bakhmut continues. The Wagner Group mercenary group continues to lead the offensive against the town. 

The Ukrainian forces have managed to push back the Russians from a key resupply road outside the town. Although a small country road, Route 0506 has become a key resupply line for the Ukrainian garrison of Bakhmut. The Russian forces had come to within a few hundred yards of the road, but a recent streak of Ukrainian counteroffensives pushed them back and secured the route, at least for the time being.

When it comes to the AZOM industrial complex, the situation continues to remain vague. Russian media claims that the industrial complex has fallen to Russian forces. Visual evidence of the ground somewhat supports the Russian claims that Wagner Group fighters are in control of the facility. 

“However, the area likely remains contested, as it has been for the past fortnight,” according to the British Military Intelligence.

However, in the past few days, the rate of Russian assaults has slowed down significantly. This is a result of extremely heavy casualties, manpower shortages, and a shift in the strategic planning on the Russian side. 

“With Wagner having now confirmed the release of at least 5000 prisoner fighters, personnel shortages are likely hampering Russian offensive efforts in the sector,” the British Military Intelligence assessed in its latest estimate of the war.

Seeing that the Russian forces are stuck in Bakhmut and that the town won’t be falling easily, the Russian military leadership has started to shift the weight of its large-scale offensive elsewhere on the battlefield. 

The Russian Casualties in Ukraine

Besides the heavy casualties in troops that the Russian forces have been suffering, they are also running out of modern weapon systems. As a result, the Russian Ministry of Defense is having to take out of storage ancient weapon systems and munitions in a desperate attempt to plug the yawning gaps created by the attrition of the war. 

Indeed, the situation is so desperate within the Russian ranks that Moscow is sending T-54/55 main battle tanks, which were developed during World War Two, to the frontlines.

Overall, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Wednesday, Ukrainian forces have killed approximately 172,340 Russian troops (and wounded approximately twice to thrice that number)

Destroyed equipment includes: 306 fighter, attack, bomber, and transport jets, 291 attack and transport helicopters, 3,609 tanks, 2,659 artillery pieces, 6,966 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, 526 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 18 boats and cutters, 5,507 vehicles and fuel tanks, 277 anti-aircraft batteries, 2,239 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 288 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 911 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 InsiderSandboxx, and SOFREP.

1945’s Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist with specialized expertise 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.



  1. 404NotFound

    March 29, 2023 at 7:38 pm

    The very most stupid dumb proxy war evoked right on the front doorstep of a major big nukes-equipped power was a desperate gamble by biden and co from the beginning or from the day biden stepped into the oval office.

    Now there is big stupid dumb talk about totally banning russia from the 2024 paris games.

    Now, that’s really truly desperate as it shows US and EU and G7 (practically all the current top globalist fascismo entities) have failed to nullify & neuter russia despite their very severe all-encompassing economic sanctions and super massive blitzkrieg-class military aid to the ukro neo-nazis.

    So, they are now targeting russia’s athletes. What’s next.

    The desperately desperate desperadoes’ effort to throw russia out of paris 2024 will only bring forward the (now still being held back) nuke option to finish off the ukros.

    Nukes are the only practical choice or the only effective way to stop the ukro neo-nazis in their tracks and fully eject them from donbass, especially donetsk province, and any ban on athletes will mean the nuking of ukros on an earlier than expected date.

    That’s what next. But does biden have the brains to even fathom it. Unlikely.

  2. Tamerlane

    March 29, 2023 at 7:40 pm

    A “seasoned defense journalist”. Ok… tell us Stavros, why do you omit the Ukrainian casualties from this screed? We all know the pre-war combat arms of the Ukrainian army is dead, literally, and Ukraine is being daily attritted. Perhaps “report” on that instead of serving as an open partisan?

  3. mcswell

    March 29, 2023 at 9:13 pm

    @404: “Nukes are the only practical choice or the only effective way to stop the [Ukrainian army] in their tracks and fully eject them from donbass”: If so, it’s because the Russian army is so incompetent, and the Ukrainian army so good.

  4. Jacksonian Libertarian

    March 29, 2023 at 9:54 pm

    “the Russian Ministry of Defense is having to take out of storage ancient weapon systems and munitions”

    Russia is becoming exhausted. Ukraine on the other hand, is receiving hundreds of vehicle mounted TOW missile launchers. When Russia’s logistical exhaustion forces them onto the defensive, Ukraine will be able to roll them up like a rug.

  5. Rick

    March 29, 2023 at 9:55 pm

    comrade 404notverybright,

    Biden didn’t start the war, but he will supply the necessary arms to end the conflict. What he did help do is to expose the russian army as a bunch of drunks who are very good at torture, rape, killing and civilians.

    Looking beyond the atrocities we can take satisfaction in the notion that Ukraine has totally humiliated putin and russia to the point that they will never be considered a superpower again. He has successfully sentenced the country and citizens to a dismal future in isolation from the West and its technology.

    Anybody notice how russian propagandists are getting more desperate?

  6. len

    March 29, 2023 at 10:16 pm

    It’s good that Western media sticks together and supports the narrative that our Ukraine team is winning. Of course Ukraine will defeat Russia driving all the invaders from Ukrainian soil. In time for the Zelensky regime to rule over its ashes.

    According to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg’s Annual Report for 2022. Released On 21 March 2023. NATO Allies provided unprecedented support for Ukraine, with around 120 billion in USD of military, humanitarian and financial assistance in 2022.

    Of course the real winners will be the US and EU defense contractors and the central banks. Certainly not the people of Ukraine, Europe, Britain or the United States. But let’s pretend that we all are winners anyway.

    Slava Moronica!

  7. Dave sterne

    March 30, 2023 at 1:44 am

    Obviously 404not found is a russian, a russian troll or sympathieser. As Russian aggression was manufactured for this war and could have been avoided back in the 90’s if puten just did what it would take to join nato instead of expecting to join it by a having it offered to Russia on a silver platter. He also had been offered to join nato in some areas of it, but thru that away. From then on mistakes were made by both sides until Russia rolled into crymia in 14 which put the world on notice. Other than Iran and bk, he’s being played the fool by China, Russia new governing country if they don’t get their act together.
    As for tamerlane, Russia has a good hint as to how many Ukrainians have died, not as many as russia( which is probably way higher than reported by ukraine and the u.k.) but on both sides a kind of military secret. By reporting actual in ukraines case you can figure out how long before no one left to fight. In both cases it affects public support for the war. Though in ukraines case Russia is the invader and keeping our homeland whole is an overriding feeling. Patriotism.

  8. Repressiveworld

    March 30, 2023 at 1:49 am

    And name I hope use repressive world please. I thought litteral name for verification.

  9. Repressiveworld

    March 30, 2023 at 1:50 am

    Or delete everything

  10. Whodunnit

    March 30, 2023 at 6:41 am

    Bacause the Ukranians don’t release their casualty figures and while the Russian casualty figures – from the Ukranians – are generally accepted to be inflated, the Ukranian figures from Russia are just laughable. According to the Russian MOD the Ukranian airforce has been wiped out twice over and yet we still see Ukranian combat missions being flown.

  11. Johnny Ray

    March 30, 2023 at 9:22 am

    It’s kind of surprising 5,000 prisoner Wagner mercenaries lived for 6 months. I suppose Prigozhin had to make good on his promise to release them or else they ALL would quit, violently.

    All eyes are on Bakhmut, but maybe Russian eyes should try to see their future, win or lose in Bakhmut. Basically, Russia’s political and economic future has been destroyed for at least a generation. They have chosen to become a rogue outcast state like it’s allies NK and Iran. They will be treated and suffer accordingly.

    Indeed the war itself may still be going years or decades from now. It seems unlikely Ukraine will ever agree to terms in any way favoring Russia, even if it comes down to Ukrainians fighting with pitch forks and throwing rocks.

    Not a good future for either actually.

  12. Roger Bacon

    March 30, 2023 at 2:40 pm

    Propaganda is very high in this war. The only real facts you can gleam are from photo evidence and the situation on the ground. I haven’t seen much in the way of captured or destroyed Ukrainian systems but pleanty of Russian ones. I expect to see Ukrainian tractors hauling away T54’s soon. Or maybe they won’t bother as they are such piecs of junk.

    Also, taking months to capture one city means the attacker is taking huge casualties. Assaults with insufficient force cause the most casualties for the attacker.

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