The fighting along the contact line in Ukraine continues with no major changes.
The Russian forces are putting up a skillful defense, preventing the Ukrainian military from achieving the much-desired operational breakthrough that would split Moscow’s forces in Ukraine in two and put Kyiv’s forces within shooting range of Crimea.
Fighting on the Ground
About two weeks ago, the Ukrainian forces achieved a tactical breach in the Orikhiv sector, in the Zaporizhzhia Oblast, in southern Ukraine. For a moment or two, it looked like the Russian defensive line might collapse.
However, the Russian military has plugged the gap created by the Ukrainian forces, and the fighting has resumed its previous cadence of small-scale assaults from either side.
Russian Casualties in Ukraine
The situation on the ground continues to be costly for the Russian forces. On the 589th day of the Kremlin’s “special military operation” in Ukraine, the Russian military and pro-Russian separatist forces continue to take significant casualties.
Meanwhile on the ground, on day 590 of the war, the situation continues to be stressful for the Russian military leaders who, on a daily basis, have to pull rabbits out of their hats and plug holes created along the contact line for the heavy attrition.
Despite the skillful defense of the Russian military, casualties continue to mount. However, the Kremlin seems willing to absorb the extremely heavy attrition from the fighting. And we are talking about heavy losses. During the span of the Ukrainian counteroffensive alone, the Russian forces have lost upwards of 70,000 men killed, wounded, or captured.
Judging from the casualties, the fighting on the frontlines is flaring up again. Over the past 24 hours, the Russian forces lost more than 600 men, as well as over 130 heavy weapon systems, drones, and vehicles. Specifically, the Russian forces lost 20 main battle tanks, 30 infantry fighting vehicles and armored personnel carriers, 25 artillery guns and multiple launch rockets, 29 tactical unmanned aerial systems, and more than 30 vehicles and support trucks.
Overall, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Friday, Ukrainian forces have killed and wounded approximately 281,090 Russian troops, destroyed 322 fighter, attack, bomber, and transport jets, 316 attack and transport helicopters, 4,777 tanks, 6,666 artillery pieces, 9,082 armored personnel carriers, and infantry fighting vehicles, 806 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 21 warships, submarines, boats, and cutters, 9.015 vehicles, and fuel tanks, 540 anti-aircraft batteries, 5,158 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 951 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 1,530 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses.
The Ukrainians are also taking significant losses in their attempt to breach the extensive Russian defenses. Kyiv has been very careful not to reveal the exact losses it’s taking on the ground, but Western intelligence assessments put the number of total Ukrainian losses to around 200,000.
However, there is an important distinction compared to the Russians—the Ukrainians have more wounded than killed, and that means that more soldiers can come back to the fight down the line.
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.
From the Vault