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Russian Casualties in Ukraine
Overall, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Friday, Ukrainian forces have killed and wounded approximately 181,090 Russian troops.
Destroyed equipment includes: 307 fighter, attack, bomber, and transport jets, 293 attack and transport helicopters, 3,650 tanks, 2,784 artillery pieces, 7,069 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, 535 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 18 boats and cutters, 5,640 vehicles and fuel tanks, 283 anti-aircraft batteries, 2,239 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 321 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.
The Battle for Bakhmut
The Russian military and Wagner Group mercenaries are looking to finish the job in Bakhmut.
After more than ten months of fighting, the Russian forces are inside the town and have advanced to the south and north, threatening the Ukrainian garrison with encirclement.
The Ukrainian military continues to hold onto the western part of the town, at least for the time being. Russian forces have focused intense artillery fire on the Ukrainian positions, pushing the defenders to their limit.
“Wagner assault groups continue to conduct the main advance through the centre of town, while Russian airborne forces (VDV) have relieved some Wagner units securing the northern and southern flanks of the operation,” the British Military Intelligence assessed in its latest estimate of the war.
Wagner Group leader Yevgeny Prigozhin said this week that his mercenaries have been replaced in certain places by the Russian military. The two organizations have had quite an acrimonious relationship, which seems to have been mended to a certain degree.
“Ukrainian forces face significant resupply issues but have made orderly withdrawals from the positions they have been forced to concede,” the British Military Intelligence added.
Ukraine in NATO?
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has been trying for months to get his country to be considered for membership in NATO. And understandably so. A membership in the transatlantic alliance would give Kyiv the security and peace of mind necessary to rebuild itself after the highly destructive war.
“It is obvious that Ukraine’s place is in NATO, a legal place. And we do not want the outdated illusions, which until now held back our joining the Alliance, continued taking time away from Ukraine and its partners. We are developing the appropriate steps,” Zelensky said in his latest address to the Ukrainian people.
With 31 member states—Finland joined last week, and Sweden is waiting for Turkey to ratify its membership bid—NATO is dedicated to common defense. The transnational Alliance is inherently a defensive organization. Article 5, in particular, is what would give Ukraine peace of mind.
Also known as the Article of mutual defense, Article 5 stipulates that any attack on a NATO member by a state or non-state actor would, after a review of the circumstances, trigger a response by all members. The United States is the only NATO member to activate Article 5 after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
If Ukraine was in NATO, Russia wouldn’t attack due to the fear of escalation. However, it is extremely unlikely that NATO will allow Ukraine to join for a variety of reasons, including the active combat on its territory.
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.