It has been 291 days since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began. On Monday, the Russian military launched another wave of missile attacks on Ukraine.
Russian missile attacks
The Russian military continues to pursue a long-range strikes strategy. Since October, Moscow has launched more than 1,000 loitering munitions and ballistic and cruise missiles against Ukrainian cities and critical infrastructure, killing dozens and pluming the country into the dark.
Despite the Ukrainian efforts to bring power back, millions of Ukrainians are often left without electricity, internet, and heat. According to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, the Russian missile and drone attacks have struck all of Ukraine’s thermal and hydroelectric power plants, making the lives of millions of Ukrainians hard as the cruel Ukrainian winter sets in.
The latest round of Russian missile attacks struck Odesa, Ukraine’s third-largest city and most significant port and naval base.
However, the Kremlin’s focus on missile attacks has an end date. The Russian ballistic and cruise missile arsenals are depleting fast, with availability ranging from 13 to 50 percent depending on the munition. Moscow has reached out to Iran and received hundreds of tactical unmanned aerial systems and loitering munitions, such as the Shahed-136 suicide drone. It remains to be seen whether Russia can maintain its missile barrages and achieve anything significant.
Related: What drones can Iran give to Russia?
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 1,500 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 Monday, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense is claiming the following Russian casualties:
- 94,760 Russian troops killed (approximately three times that number wounded and captured)
- 5,928 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles destroyed
- 4,544 vehicles and fuel tanks
- 2,966 tanks
- 1,929 artillery pieces
- 1617 tactical unmanned aerial systems
- 281 fighter, attack, and transport jets
- 397 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS)
- 264 attack and transport helicopters
- 592 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses
- 211 anti-aircraft batteries
- 169 special equipment platforms, such as bridging equipment
- 16 boats and cutters
- four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems
On Monday, 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.
Feature Image: Ukrainian firemen survey the damage after a Russian missile strike in Vinnytsia in July, 2022. (State Emergency Service of Ukraine)