The “special military operation” in Ukraine has gone terribly wrong for Russia. As much as the Kremlin tries to hide that fact, it is obvious to almost everyone.
The botched invasion of Ukraine is taking a toll on the Russian military, and one of the largest military forces in the world before the war is now a shadow of its former self.
But it is the Russian soldiers who are shouldering the brand of Moscow’s arrogance.
Combat Medicine Gone Wrong
The Russian forces have lost more than 200,000 men in the fighting in Ukraine. A good portion of them were wounded and succumbed to their wounds. The large number of casualties is even affecting civilian hospitals within Russia.
“The influx of military casualties has likely undermined the normal provision of some Russian civilian medical services, especially in border regions near Ukraine. It is likely that many dedicated military hospitals are being reserved for officer casualties,” the British Military Intelligence assessed in its latest estimate of the war.
The head of the Kalashnikov defense company’s combat medicine training division even acknowledged that likely half of those wounded on the battlefield could have been saved with proper first aid.
In the Russian military, first aid is antiquated. In many instances, especially when it comes to reservists, troops are issued first aid kits that date all the way back to the 1950s. Instead of modern tourniquets that can effectively stop a bleeding and save a life, Russian soldiers are forced to use rubber bands much like their forefathers did in World War Two.
“Very slow casualty evacuation, combined with the inappropriate use of the crude in-service Russian combat tourniquet, is reportedly a leading cause of preventable fatalities and amputations,” the British Military Intelligence added.
Interestingly, medical provisions was one of the clues that tipped Western intelligence services that Russian President Vladimir Putin was going ahead with the invasion of Ukraine back in the fall of 2021 and early weeks of 2022.
The Kremlin had been building up its forces around Ukraine for months before it attacked on February 24, 2022. Kyiv and many others thought that Putin was bluffing to get concessions from the Ukrainian leadership. But at some point, the U.S. Intelligence Community and its Western partners picked up the movement of medical provisions and the set-up of field hospitals close to the border, indicating that Putin had indeed decided to attack Ukraine.
Russian Casualties in Ukraine
On day 503 of the Russian invasion, the Russian forces continue to take serious casualties on the ground.
Overall, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Monday, Ukrainian forces have killed and wounded approximately 234,480 Russian troops, destroyed 322 fighter, attack, bomber, and transport jets, 309 attack and transport helicopters, 4,085 tanks, 4,371 artillery pieces, 7,766 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, 668 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 18 boats and cutters, 6,937 vehicles and fuel tanks, 414 anti-aircraft batteries, 3,686 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 632 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 1,271 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 Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP.