The war in Ukraine has entered its 20th month, with no end in sight. The Ukrainian military is pushing hard in two directions — in Southern Ukraine, and around the tragic town of Bakhmut — as it tries to breach Russian defenses and achieve an operational breakthrough.
The Ukrainian Counteroffensive
In Southern Ukraine, Kyiv’s forces have made their most significant gains in the Orikhiv sector, in the western part of the Zaporizhzhia Oblast. A few days ago, Ukrainian forces managed to achieve a tactical breach of Russian defenses and are now fighting for the village of Verbove.
That small village is the key link connecting the first two lines of Russian defenses. If Ukraine captures it, its troops can advance in open country for a few miles before reaching another layer of Russian defenses.
The second axis of advance is around Bakhmut, in the Donbas region. After withdrawing from the devastated town in May, Ukrainian forces resumed their efforts to liberate it in June. The Ukrainian military has made significant tactical progress to the north and south of the town in an attempt to cut Russian lines of supply and threaten the Russian garrison with envelopment.
Ukrainian gains in this sector haven’t been as promising as those in Southern Ukraine.
For a second day in a row, the Russian forces suffered a little over 300 casualties killed, wounded, and captured. This continues a trend over the past few days in which the Russian military loses fewer men relative to the average of approximately 500 a day.
The decrease in casualties is even more puzzling because it comes at a point in time when Ukrainian forces continue to push hard.
Losses of weapons systems and vehicles remain high, especially as concerns artillery guns and multiple-launch rocket systems. Over the past 24 hours, the Russian forces lost almost 40 long-range fire systems.
Overall, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Thursday, Ukrainian forces have killed and wounded approximately 277,330 Russian troops. They also claim they have destroyed 322 fighter, attack, bomber, and transport jets; 316 attack and transport helicopters; 4,679 tanks; 6,375 artillery pieces; 8,962 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles; 793 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems; 21 warships, submarines, boats, and cutters; 8,815 vehicles and fuel tanks; 535 anti-aircraft batteries; 4,957 tactical unmanned aerial systems; 929 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems; and 1,529 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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