It has been 325 days since the Russian invasion began. On Saturday, the fighting in Ukraine continues.
The war goes on
In the Donbas, the Russian Ministry of Defense has announced the capture of Soledar, a small salt mining town to the north of Bakhmut. However, the situation on the ground continues to remain uncertain, and the Ukrainian forces could still be in the town. If the Russian forces capture Soledar, then they will be one step closer to surrounding Bakhmut.
In the east, the fighting along the Kreminna-Svatove line of contact continues in earnest. Both sides are launching attacks and counterattacks in an attempt to dislodge the other side. Once the weather permits, there will be more heavy fighting in the area.
In the south, the situation remains largely unchanged.
Every day, the Ukrainian military is providing an update on their 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 more than 1,600 Russian tanks (which amounts to more tanks than the combined armor capabilities of France, Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom) and more than 5,300 military vehicles 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.
Furthermore, more recent reports that are citing Western intelligence officials indicate that the Russian military has suffered more than 100,000 casualties (killed and wounded) in the war so far.
In the summer, Sir Tony Radakin, the British Chief of the Defence Staff, had told the BBC that the West understands that more than 50,000 Russian troops have been killed or wounded in the conflict thus far. If we were to take the Ukrainian figures as accurate, the number mentioned by Sir Radakin is on the low side of the spectrum.
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 more than 100,000 troops so far in the war.
Yet, it is very hard to verify the actual numbers unless one is on the ground. However, after adjusting for the fog of war and other factors, the Western official numbers are fairly close to the Ukrainian claims.
As of Saturday, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense is claiming the following Russian casualties:
- 114,660 Russian troops killed (approximately three times that number wounded and captured)
- 6,173 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles destroyed
- 4,846 vehicles and fuel tanks
- 3,104 tanks
- 2,090 artillery pieces
- 1,867 tactical unmanned aerial systems
- 723 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses
- 437 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS)
- 286 fighter, attack, and transport jets
- 276 attack and transport helicopters
- 219 anti-aircraft batteries
- 186 special equipment platforms, such as bridging equipment
- 16 boats and cutters
- four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems
On Saturday, Ukrainian forces continued to inflict the heaviest in the direction of Bakhmut, which is located in the south of the Donbas, and Lyman, which is located in the northeast of the Donbas.
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.