The Ukrainian counteroffensive in the Donbas and southern Ukraine continues. The Ukrainian military is attacking several parts of the Russian defensive line, probing for weak points to take advantage of.
Kyiv hasn’t achieved a breakthrough yet but hasn’t committed all of its forces.
Heavy fighting is taking place in the southern part of the Donbas, where the Ukrainian forces are attacking the Russian defensive lines.
The Ukrainian military is advancing along several axes of advance, reinforcing with reserves and additional long-range fires those that present the most operational promise. But the Russian fortifications are slowing down the process.
For months the Russian forces have been constructing some of the most extensive defensive lines in recent history. Most of these fortifications are comprised of three and four defensive lines. Usually, the first two defensive lines are designed to be breached by the attacker but slow him down and channel attacking units to better-defended areas.
However, despite the ongoing Ukrainian counteroffensive, the Kremlin still wants to see that it has the initiative.
“Russian forces are likely still being ordered to return to the offensive as soon as possible: Chechen units have led an unsuccessful attempt to take the town of Marivka, near Donetsk city, where the front line has changed little since 2015,” the British Military Intelligence assessed in its latest estimate of the war.
Meanwhile, further in the south in Kherson, the situation after the destruction of the Kakhovka Dam and adjacent hydroelectric power stations is still fluid. The flooding has destroyed Russian fortifications and has forced Russian units to pull back to the east.
“Through 07 June 2023, flood levels continued to rise in the lower Dnipro, following the collapse of the Kakhovka Dam, but will likely start to recede during 08 June 2023. Shelling has complicated some attempts to evacuate displaced civilians from inundated areas,” the British Military Intelligence added.
Tens of thousands of people have been affected by the destruction of the Kakhovka facility.
Russian Casualties in Ukraine
On the ground, the Russian forces continue to suffer heavy casualties. On day 469 of the war, the Russian military, Wagner Group private military company, and pro-Russian separatist forces lost about 700 men killed, wounded, or captured. This week alone, Moscow has lost almost 3,000 men or the equivalent of more than half a NATO brigade.
Overall, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Thursday, Ukrainian forces have killed and wounded approximately 212760 Russian troops.
Destroyed equipment includes: 314 fighter, attack, bomber, and transport jets, 299 attack and transport helicopters, 3,891 tanks, 3,668 artillery pieces, 7,576 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, 595 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 18 boats and cutters, 6,384 vehicles and fuel tanks, 355 anti-aircraft batteries, 3,234 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 500 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 1,171 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses.
The Kremlin has been plagued by chronic force generation issues, and the attrition stemming from the Ukrainian counteroffensive is only worsening things for the Russian leadership.
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.