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256,000 Dead and Wounded for Putin: Ukraine Is Trying to ‘Breach’ Russia’s Defenses

Russian T-72 on Fire in Ukraine. Image Credit: Twitter Screenshot.

The Ukrainian military has been making steady progress in the southern sector of the counteroffensive.

Over the last few days, Ukrainian forces have liberated several small settlements in the Zaporizhzhia Oblast, threatening the Russian defensive effort.

Steady Progress in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine

The Ukrainian military has been probing and attacking at several points of the contact line in an effort to attrite the Russian forces and find any weak spots in the Kremlin’s extensive defensive lines. With this approach, the daily progress might be slow, but suddenly, once a breach has been achieved, it could become lightning fast.

“Recent Ukrainian advances near small settlements in the Donetsk-Zaporizhia Oblast border area and in western Zaporizhia Oblast are likely tactically significant because of the structure of Russian defensive lines,” the Institute for the Study of War assessed in its latest operational estimate on the conflict.

Although the Russian defenses are robust, the situation behind the frontlines is different.

According to the Ukrainian military, the Russian defensive line in southern Ukraine is comprised of three layers. The first layer is essentially an extensive minefield that stretches several miles deep and contains hundreds of thousands of anti-tank and anti-personnel mines. The second layer contains trenches, anti-tank obstacles, artillery, and mobile reserves ready to counterattack wherever there is danger. Finally, the third layer is comprised of additional reserves and command and control elements.

If the Ukrainians manage to get past the first layer and the extensive minefields, then the situation would be much easier for Kyiv’s forces.

Russian Casualties in Ukraine 

On day 541 of the war, the Russian military lost almost 500 men killed, wounded, or captured, as well as approximately 60 heavy weapon systems and vehicles. These losses are in line with the casualties Moscow has been taking since the Ukrainian counteroffensive began in early June.

The Russian military also lost a couple of Ka-52 alligator attack helicopters from portable anti-aircraft missiles over the counteroffensive battlefield. Russian aviation made a strong comeback in the initial days and weeks of the Ukrainian operation, flying over 100 combat sorties a day. 

However, despite some early tactical successes, Russian fighter and attack jets and attack helicopters have failed to stop the Ukrainian mechanized brigades from making steady progress in the Donbas and south Ukraine. 

Here at 19FortyFive, we have been covering almost every day since the war started. The heavy casualties the Russian forces are suffering in Putin’s “Special military operation” in Ukraine are truly historic.

Although the biased—but understandably so—Ukrainian Ministry of Defense provides these numbers, independent researchers, as well as Western intelligence agencies and militaries, collaborate to a large extent with Kyiv’s claims, especially when it comes to human losses. 

Overall, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Friday, Ukrainian forces have killed and wounded approximately 256,510 Russian troops, destroyed 322 fighter, attack, bomber, and transport jets, 316 attack and transport helicopters, 4,332 tanks, 5,193 artillery pieces, 8,410 armored personnel carriers, and infantry fighting vehicles, 714 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 18 boats and cutters, 7,658 vehicles, and fuel tanks, 486 anti-aircraft batteries, 4,276 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 783 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 1,406 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 and a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ). He holds a BA from the Johns Hopkins University, an MA from the Johns Hopkins’ School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), and is pursuing a J.D. at Boston College Law School. 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.