On day 403 of the conflict, the war in Ukraine goes on with no significant changes on the ground.
Russian Casualties in Ukraine
The Russian forces continue to lose men in Ukraine.
Overall, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Sunday, Ukrainian forces have killed and wounded approximately 174550 Russian troops, destroyed 306 fighter, attack, bomber, and transport jets, 291 attack and transport helicopters, 3,618 tanks, 2,687 artillery pieces, 6,986 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, 527 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 18 boats and cutters, 5,537 vehicles and fuel tanks, 279 anti-aircraft batteries, 2,249 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 296 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.
Alcohol and Poor Discipline in the Russian Military
Non-combat deaths are normal on a battlefield. But Russian Telegram news channels report “extremely high” numbers of deaths linked to alcohol consumption and crime.
“Other leading causes of non-combat casualties likely include poor weapon handing drills, road traffic accidents and climatic injuries such as hypothermia. Russian commanders likely identify pervasive alcohol abuse as particularly detrimental to combat effectiveness,” the British Military Intelligence assessed in its latest estimate on the war.
Although completely foreign to Western professional miliary forces, alcohol consumption is an integral part of Russian culture, especially Russian military culture.
“However, with heavy drinking pervasive across much of Russian society, it has long been seen as a tacitly accepted part of military life, even on combat operations,” the British Military Intelligence added.
Interestingly, the British Military Intelligence assessed that the Russian forces have lost up to 200,000 troops and didn’t corroborate the U.S. intelligence figure of more than 220,000 Russians killed or wounded. It is additionally perplexing because British Defense Minister Ben Wallace was the one who cited the U.S. intelligence figures earlier in the week.
Western Tanks to Ukraine
Starting in January, the West started committing main battle tanks to Ukraine. The United Kingdom took the first step after committing a squadron of 14 Challenger 2 main battle tanks. Soon, Germany, Poland, Norway, Spain, and the U.S., among other countries, followed.
German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said on Saturday that the Ukrainian military would be receiving a total of about 160 Western main battle tanks. These weapon systems concern Challenger 2, Leopard 2, M1A1 Abrams, and Leopard 1 main battle tanks.
These tanks will be necessary for the upcoming Ukrainian counteroffensive, which is set to take place sometime in the next weeks.
The first Challenger 2 and Leopard 2 tanks have arrived in Ukraine, while the Ukrainian crews continue to train on the weapon systems in order to be ready for the large counter-offensive.
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.