Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “special military operation” in Ukraine is backfiring.
Over the past few days, there has been heavy fighting within Russia in the Belgorod Province.
Russian partisans fighting for Ukraine have “invaded” Russia’s Belgorod Province, which borders Ukraine in the east. The Russian military has deployed forces, and there is fighting in several different locations.
The War Goes to Russia
Local Russian authorities have evacuated several villages in the area, while the Kremlin is sending military units and FSB paramilitary troops.
The current fighting is the latest instance in a string of incidents. Last week, for example, the Russian Aerospace Forces lost two fighter jets and two helicopters in Bryansk, near the Ukrainian border.
Meanwhile, Russian partisans and Ukrainian special operators continue to undermine the Russian transportation system by attacking railway lines and roads, restricting the free movement of troops and supplies.
“Russia is facing an increasingly serious multi-domain security threat in its border regions, with losses of combat aircraft, improvised explosive device attacks on rail lines, and now direct partisan action,” the British Military Intelligence assessed in its latest estimate of the war.
However, the attacks within Russia will bolster Putin’s narrative that the country is under attack and that a full mobilization is needed to prevail in the war.
“Russia will almost certainly use these incidents to support the official narrative that it is the victim in the war,” the British Military Intelligence added.
Russian Casualties in Ukraine
In the last three days alone, the Russian military, Wagner Group private military company, and pro-Russian separatists have lost almost 2,000 men killed or wounded. This level of attrition is unsustainable in the long run.
The Kremlin is trying to counter its heavy losses through various programs, including drafting migrant workers from the former Soviet republics and recruiting from prisons. However, these are only temporary measures as these recruits are poorly trained and with dubious morale.
The war in Ukraine is dividing the Russian military into the professional, elite units, such as the VDV paratroopers and Spetsnaz special forces, and the expendable reservists and recruits that are sent to the frontlines to attrite the Ukrainian military without any regard for their lives.
Overall, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Tuesday, Ukrainian forces have killed and wounded approximately 204,360 Russian troops.
Destroyed equipment includes: 309 fighter, attack, bomber, and transport jets, 295 attack and transport helicopters, 3,789 tanks, 3,318 artillery pieces, 7,419 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, 565 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 18 boats and cutters, 6,139 vehicles and fuel tanks, 327 anti-aircraft batteries, 2,864 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 433 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 1,015 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses.
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, Cybersecurity, and Intelligence at the Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). His work has been featured in Business Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP.