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Smart Bombs: Military, Defense and National Security

224,000 Dead or Wounded: Putin’s Military Is Getting Battered in Ukraine

Russian Army tank firing. Image Credit: Creative Commons.
Russian Army tank firing. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

Wagner Group’s mutiny over the past two days overshadowed the fighting taking place on the ground in Ukraine. 

Despite slow progress in the first three weeks of the counteroffensive, the Ukrainian military is using lessons learned and changing its tactics on the ground. 

The Russian military continues to put up a skillful resistance, but it is suffering significant casualties in the process.  

Adjusting Fire 

After a brief reset earlier this week, the Ukrainian military has resumed major offensive operations on three main axes of advance around Bakhmut, near Donetsk, and in Zaporizhzhia. 

But now, instead of attacking the Russian extensive defensive lines, the Ukrainian forces are using artillery to suppress the Russian military’s long-range fires and achieve artillery superiority. The Ukrainians are also using their advantage in nighttime combat to take out Russian positions. 

Ukrainian forces are using the experiences from the first two weeks of the counter-offensive to refine tactics for assaulting the deep, well-prepared Russian defenses. Ukrainian units are making gradual but steady tactical progress in key areas,” the British Military Intelligence assessed in its latest estimate of the war.

Although the Ukrainian military is leading a large-scale counteroffensive in the Donbas and in southern Ukraine, the Russian forces continue with some small, localized offensive operations in the east. 

In the east, the Russian military has been attacking the Ukrainian positions in the Serebryanka Forest near the town of Kreminna. 

“This probably reflects continued Russian senior leadership orders to go on the offensive whenever possible. Russia has made some small gains, but Ukrainian forces have prevented a breakthrough,” the British Military Intelligence added. 

There has been heavy fighting along the Svatove-Kreminna line of contact since last November. Both sides have been trying to advance in the area, but the forested terrain makes it hard for mechanized maneuver warfare. 

Russian Casualties in Ukraine

Meanwhile, on day 486 of the war, the Russian forces continued to take significant casualties, with over 700 killed, wounded, or captured over the last 24 hours. 

The Russian Aerospace Forces lost eight fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters in the Wanger Group mutiny, making it one of the deadliest days for the Russian air force since the start of the war in Ukraine

Specifically, the Wagner Group mercenaries shot down four Mi-8 transport and electronic warfare helicopters, one Ka-52 Alligator attack helicopter (another one almost got shot down, but protective flares saved the aircraft literally in the last second), one Mi-35 attack helicopter, one Mi-28 helicopter, and one II-22 communications aircraft. More than 10 Russian pilots were killed. 

Overall, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Sunday, Ukrainian forces have killed and wounded approximately 224,630 Russian troops, destroyed 321 fighter, attack, bomber, and transport jets, 308 attack and transport helicopters, 4,030 tanks, 4,034 artillery pieces, 7,806 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, 624 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 18 boats and cutters, 6,735 vehicles and fuel tanks, 385 anti-aircraft batteries, 3,472 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 552 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 1,259 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. His work has been featured in Business InsiderSandboxx, and SOFREP.

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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.