The Ukrainian military is attacking in force in the southern part of the country in search of an operational breakthrough that would shatter Russian defenses.
The Kremlin is throwing everything it has against the advancing Ukrainians, including Chechen paramilitary forces.
Chechens on the Frontline
Last week, Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov acknowledged that his Vostok Akhmat Battalion is fighting in the Orhikiv sector of the Zaporizhzhia Oblast.
Orhikiv is one of the more heavily contested sectors in the Ukrainian counteroffensive, and both militaries are pouring men and weapons systems into the fight.
“Kadyrov’s comments highlighted the continuing role of one of the premier Chechen units in this key area. Vostok officially comes under the command of the Southern Military District’s 42nd Motor Rifle Division, which has been active around the village of Robotyne,” British Military Intelligence assessed in its latest estimate on the war. “Chechen forces comprise a relatively small but high-profile component of Russian forces in Ukraine. Kadyrov likely heavily promotes his units’ roles partially to burnish his credentials as a Putin loyalist.”
Chechen paramilitary forces were among the troops Russian President Vladimir Putin used to quell the Wagner Group mutiny in the middle of June.
Kadyrov’s power is largely bound up with Putin’s survival in the Kremlin, so the Russian leader knows he can rely on the Chechens when the going gets tough.
Russian Casualties in Ukraine
On day 539 of the Russian invasion, the Russian military continued to lose a steady number of troops each day. Further, Russian forces keep losing dozens of artillery pieces per day in the intense long-range fire duel between the two militaries. Over the past 24 hours, the Russian military lost 28 artillery guns, and in the past five days, it has lost almost 100 artillery pieces.
That is an incredible rate of attrition. It is forcing Moscow to dig deep into its weapons stocks in an attempt to plug new gaps on the battlefield. Due to sanctions and substantial daily attrition, the Russian defense and aerospace industry cannot keep up with losses on the frontlines. As a result, Russian troops go to war with antiquated weapons systems that, in some cases, were designed and manufactured more than 60 years ago.
With respect to the accuracy of these numbers — which are published every day by the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense — independent researchers have largely corroborated the number of human and material losses since the start of the war. Moreover, Western intelligence agencies and militaries largely agree with Kyiv’s estimates of Russian casualties.
Overall, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Tuesday, Ukrainian forces have killed and wounded approximately 254,920 Russian troops. They also claim they have destroyed 322 fighter, attack, bomber, and transport jets; 314 attack and transport helicopters; 4,313 tanks; 5,128 artillery pieces; 8,370 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles; 714 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems; 18 boats and cutters; 7,584 vehicles and fuel tanks; 482 anti-aircraft batteries; 4,242 tactical unmanned aerial systems; 769 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems; and 1,387 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. 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.
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