To stop the recent advances of the Ukrainian counteroffensive, the Russian forces have launched a series of small counterattacks.
The Russian small-scale offensives have targeted the Ukrainian salient in the Orikhiv sector in southern Ukraine and the prongs around the town of Bakhmut in the Donbas.
In the last few days, the Russian forces have launched a “concerted” series of local counterattacks against the advancing Ukrainian forces in southern Ukraine and around Bakhmut in the Donbas.
“In both areas, Ukrainian forces have defeated the Russian attacks and maintained their hold on recently liberated territory,” the British Military Intelligence assessed in its latest estimate of the war.
“Comments posted by the Russian military community suggest extreme disillusionment amongst those involved in these counter attacks, especially near Bakhmut, with reports of ‘ill-conceived’ advances, lack of artillery support, and heavy casualties,” the British Military Intelligence stated.
The Russian military is showing two faces in the conflict. On the one side, the Russian forces prove that they can defend skillfully against a committed force that, at this point, is probably better equipped than them. But on the other side, the Russian forces have failed on every large-scale offensive they have launched over 19 months of conflict, suffering extremely heavy casualties in the process.
“[The Russian military] continues to display only minimal capability on the offensive. Commanders struggle to orchestrate complex joint effects, to concentrate sufficient artillery ammunition, and to maintain high morale and offensive spirit,” the British Military Intelligence added.
The long-term effect of this offensive inability on the part of the Russian military is that the Kremlin is essentially trapped in a defensive war of attrition that can only end if the Ukrainians understand that they can’t liberate the whole of their country without unimaginable losses.
Russian President Vladimir Putin understands that if the Ukrainian counteroffensive isn’t stopped in its tracks, his “special military operation” against Ukraine will likely not end well for him or the Russian military. However, it becomes increasingly evident that the Russian military is incapable of effective large-scale offensive operations.
Russian Casualties in Ukraine
Meanwhile, on the ground on day 580 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Russian military and pro-Russian separatist forces persisted in taking serious casualties.
For the second day in a row, the Russian forces lost approximately 400 men killed, wounded, or captured. Despite that tactical breach that the Ukrainian forces have achieved, Russian casualties continue to remain low compared to other days in the conflict.
Overall, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Tuesday, Ukrainian forces have killed and wounded approximately 276,670 Russian troops, destroyed 322 fighter, attack, bomber, and transport jets, 316 attack and transport helicopters, 4,672 tanks, 6,299 artillery pieces, 8,946 armored personnel carriers, and infantry fighting vehicles, 792 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 20 boats and cutters, 8,763 vehicles, and fuel tanks, 533 anti-aircraft batteries, 4,924 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 925 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.