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Ukraine’s Counteroffensive Meets Stiff Resistance (But Putin Is Suffering)

Challenger 2 Tank in Ukraine?
Challenger 2 Tank in Ukraine?

The Ukrainian counteroffensive continues at a slow rate because of the stiff Russian resistance. The Ukrainian military is advancing in the Donbas and Zaporizhzhia Oblast, though slowly.

Ukrainian forces have also been attacking the Bakhmut sector, liberating territory on the flanks of the ruined town.

The Russian forces continue to put out a skillful resistance, slowing down the Ukrainian advance.

The Counteroffensive

The Ukrainian counteroffensive has been going on for almost two weeks now. Kyiv has advanced in several directions, but it hasn’t achieved an operational breakthrough yet. The Russian fortifications are holding for the time being, though Ukraine hasn’t committed its best forces yet.

Commenting on the ongoing Ukrainian counteroffensive, U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said that it’s too early to make any “definitive assessments” about Kyiv’s push in the Donbas and southern Ukraine.

“But I can tell you that each day, the Ukrainians demonstrate the courage and tenacity needed to methodically regain their territory,” Secretary Austin said from Brussels, Belgium, where he was for a meeting for the Ukraine Defense Contact Group.

Adding to Austin’s observations, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley focused on the psychological aspect of the counteroffensive.

The U.S. military’s top officer said that there are hundreds of thousands of Russian troops dug in and waiting for the Ukrainian forces, but that isn’t necessarily good.

“This is a very difficult fight. It’s a very violent fight, and it will likely take a considerable amount of time and at a high cost. But at the end of the day, as Napoleon once said, ‘The moral is to the physical as three is to one,’ and the Ukrainian morale, their leadership, their skill, their tenacity, their resilience is very high,” Gen. Milley said.

On the other end, the Russian forces are plagued by poor morale. The exorbitant casualties, bad leadership, and shortages in weapon systems have sapped the morale of the Russian military and the hundreds of thousands of conscripts and reservists that comprised it.

Russian Casualties

Meanwhile, on the ground, Moscow continues to bleed men and weapon systems. On day 478 of the war, the Russian forces lost close to 600 men killed, wounded, and captured and dozens of heavy weapon systems. It is less than two weeks since the Ukrainian counteroffensive began, and the Russian forces have lost about 8,000 troops, or an average of about 600 a day, during this time.

Overall, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Friday, Ukrainian forces have killed and wounded approximately 218,500 Russian troops, destroyed 314 fighter, attack, bomber, and transport jets, 301 attack and transport helicopters, 3,965 tanks, 3,812 artillery pieces, 7,683 armored personnel carriers, and infantry fighting vehicles, 606 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 18 boats and cutters, 6,519 vehicles, and fuel tanks, 364 anti-aircraft batteries, 3,357 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 519 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 1,199 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.