It has been 236 days since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began. On Monday, the fighting goes on in the east and the south.
Another day in the war
The Ukrainian forces continue to push in the east in an attempt to reach and encircle Svatove which would further incapacitate Russian logistics in the eastern part of the front.
Meanwhile, in the south, the Ukrainian forces continue to push on the Western bank of the Dnipro River. A few days ago, the Ukrainians managed to break through the Russian line of defense and liberate hundreds of square miles in just a few hours. The Russians managed to hold the Ukrainian advance farther in the south, but the long-term prospects of the Russian military in the Kherson Province don’t look good.
The Ukrainian forces have been pursuing a vigorous long-range interdiction campaign in the south using primarily the M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS), and M-777 155mm howitzers to target and take out the Russian lines of supply and communication as well as other targets, such as command and control hubs, air defense systems, ammunition depots, and electronic warfare systems.
Further, there is heavy fighting going on in the vicinity of Bakhmut and Avdiivka in the Donbas as the Russian military is trying to capture the two Ukrainian cities and claim some success. However, despite attacking the two cities for more than three months now, the Russian forces have failed to gain anything more than a few miles.
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 1,300 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 up to 50,000 casualties (killed and wounded) in the war so far.
In the summer, Sir Tony Radakin, the British Chief of the Defence Staff, recently 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.
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 Monday, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense is claiming the following Russian casualties:
- 65,320 Russian troops killed (approximately three times that number wounded and captured)
- 5,205 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles destroyed
- 3,969 vehicles and fuel tanks
- 2,537 tanks
- 1,599 artillery pieces
- 1,241 tactical unmanned aerial systems
- 268 fighter, attack, and transport jets
- 366 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS)
- 242 attack and transport helicopters
- 316 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses
- 187 anti-aircraft batteries
- 144 special equipment platforms, such as bridging equipment
- 16 boats and cutters
- four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems
For most of May, the Russian military suffered the greatest casualties around the Slovyansk, Kryvyi Rih, and Zaporizhzhia areas, reflecting the heavy fighting that was going on there. As the days and weeks went on, most of the heavy fighting shifted toward the direction of Bakhmut, southeast of Slovyansk, around Severodonetsk, Lyman, and Lysychansk.
Then the location of the heaviest casualties shifted again westwards toward the area of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia — where one of Europe’s largest nuclear plants is located — as a result of a Ukrainian counteroffensive in and around the area.
Then, the concentration of casualties once more shifted back to the Donbas, especially in and around Severodonetsk and Lysychansk, the two urban centers the Russians managed to capture in July. For most of August, the heaviest fighting took place in the Donbas, where the Russian forces unsuccessfully tried to breach the Ukrainian defenses and capture the Donetsk province. But lately, most of the fighting has shifted to the south where the Ukrainian military is mounting a major counteroffensive to recapture Kherson. It is now there, on the southern front, that the Russian military is suffering the heaviest casualties.
On Monday, Ukrainian forces continued to inflict the heaviest in the direction of Bakhmut and Avdiivka, which are located in the south 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.
Feature Image: A Ukrainian T-64 tank during training exercises. (Wikimedia Commons)
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