The situation in Ukraine is complicated. On the one hand, the Ukrainian forces are attacking in the south and the Donbas, but on the other, the Russian military is pushing hard in the east.
There is fierce fighting across the contact line, with neither side having the ability to achieve a decisive victory as of now.
Fighting Across the Battlefield
The state on the battlefield is fluid.
“Over the last week, most of the front line has remained static. However, in the south, Ukrainian forces have continued their advance along the course of the Mokri Yaly river, securing the village of Urozhaine in the face of stiff Russian resistance,” the British Military Intelligence assessed in its latest operational update on the conflict.
But there is fighting elsewhere on the battlefield and not just in the south and the Donbas, where the Ukrainian counteroffensive is unfolding.
“In the north, Russian forces have continued probing attacks in the Kupiansk area but achieved no significant advances,” the British Military Intelligence added.
“Across the front, both sides confront a similar challenge: attempting to defeat well-entrenched forces while having limited uncommitted forces to open new assaults,” the British Military Intelligence stated.
The war in Ukraine right now is essentially one of two relatively equal forces exchanging blows, with neither having a decisive advantage over the other.
To be sure, Ukraine has received tens of billions of dollars of security aid from the West, using it to modernize its military from Soviet-era systems to modern weapons. Kyiv does have a qualitative advantage in many aspects of the fighting, especially in long-range fires with its M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), M270 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), Storm Shadow cruise missiles, and SCALP-EG cruise missiles.
However, this qualitative edge isn’t enough to break through the extensive Russian fortifications, which are sometimes three and four layers deep, nor circumvent the hundreds of thousands of anti-personnel and anti-tank mines the Russian forces have laid along the contact line.
On the other side of the chessboard, the Russian military doesn’t have the numbers nor the advanced weapon systems to achieve an operational breakthrough anywhere on the battlefield. Moscow’s last large-scale offensive lasted five months (January to May) and resulted in the capture of the strategically insignificant town of Bakhmut but at the cost of more than 100,000 men killed or wounded.
The two militaries can play a good defense but are having trouble on the offense. As a result, the war drags on, and casualties on both sides mount.
Russian Casualties in Ukraine
On day 542 of the war, the Russian military continues to lose men.
Overall, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Saturday, Ukrainian forces have killed and wounded approximately 257,010 Russian troops, destroyed 322 fighter, attack, bomber, and transport jets, 316 attack and transport helicopters, 4,340 tanks, 5,212 artillery pieces, 8,424 armored personnel carriers, and infantry fighting vehicles, 714 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 18 boats and cutters, 7,665 vehicles, and fuel tanks, 486 anti-aircraft batteries, 4,282 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 785 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 Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP.
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