Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to correct a wrong byline.
It has been 365 days since the Russian invasion began. On Thursday, the Russian forces are getting ready for another push against Vuhledar while also continuing their attempts to capture Bakhmut.
Vuhledar and Bakhmut
The Russian military has been trying to capture Vuhledar since November. Thus far, it has launched two committed offensive operations against the small Ukrainian town, one in November, and another a few days ago. Both have failed with extremely heavy casualties for Russia. In the latest attempt, the Russian forces lost approximately two brigades, according to British military intelligence. In the past few days, Russian forces have been shelling the Ukrainian positions, most likely in anticipation of another assault.
Heavy fighting continues around Bakhmut too. The Russian forces have been trying to encircle the town and cut the Ukrainian resupply lines. But the Ukrainian defenses are holding for the time being.
In the south, the situation continues to remain fairly similar. There is no major fighting taking place, and the Russian forces continue to bolster their fortifications in Kherson and Zaporizhzhia provinces.
Related: Infighting between the Wagner Group and the Russian military reaches new levels
Every day, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense is providing an update on its claimed Russian casualties. These numbers are official figures and haven’t been separately verified.
However, Western intelligence assessments and independent reporting corroborate, to a certain extent, the Ukrainian casualty claims. For example, the Oryx open-source intelligence research page has visually verified the destruction or capture of close to 1,700 Russian tanks (which amounts to more tanks than the combined armor capabilities of France, Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom) and more than 8,300 weapon systems of all types; this assessment has been confirmed by the British Ministry of Defense.
The same independent verification exists for most of the other Ukrainian claims. Recently, the Pentagon acknowledged that the Russian military has lost thousands of combat vehicles of all types, including over 1,000 tanks, and dozens of fighter jets and helicopters.
Related: General Mark Milley says Russia has already ‘lost’ in Ukraine
In November, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley shared the U.S. military’s assessment that the Russian military has lost way more than 100,000 troops so far in the war. But U.S. officials revised this assessment in February. According to U.S. intelligence, Russia has lost almost 200,000 troops killed or wounded in the conflict so far.
Yet, proper casualty figures are still hard to compute and verify given the fog and friction of war.
As of Thursday, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense is claiming the following Russian casualties:
- 145,850 Russian troops killed (approximately three times that number wounded and captured)
- 6,593 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles destroyed
- 5,215 vehicles and fuel tanks
- 3,350 tanks
- 2,352 artillery pieces
- 2,029 tactical unmanned aerial systems
- 873 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses
- 471 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS)
- 299 fighter, attack, and transport jets
- 287 attack and transport helicopters
- 244 anti-aircraft batteries
- 228 special equipment platforms, such as bridging equipment
- 18 boats and cutters
- four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems
On Thursday, Ukrainian forces continued to inflict the heaviest in the direction of Bakhmut, which is located in the south of the Donbas, and along the Kreminna-Svatove line in the east.
The stated goal of the Russian military for the renewed offensive in the east is to establish full control over the pro-Russian breakaway territories of Donetsk and Luhansk and create and maintain a land corridor between these territories and the occupied Crimea.
Feature Image: Ukrainian soldiers during training. (Creative Commons)
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jeremy cecil says
Why don’t we get an assessment of Ukrainian casualties?