It has been 391 days since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began. On Tuesday, the fighting in the Donbas continues in earnest. The Russian forces have continued to make marginal gains in and around Bakhmut but without achieving an operational breakthrough.
The fight for the Donbas
After another heavy day of fighting, the Russian forces have made marginal gains in and around Bakhmut. Russian Wagner Group mercenaries advanced to the north of the town near the AZOM industrial complex. A vast network of factories, the AZOM industrial complex is an attacker’s nightmare: the Russian forces have already had a bad experience attacking the Azovstal steelworks plant during the battle of Mariupol back in May.
Farther south in the Donbas, Russian forces have resumed offensive operations in the direction of Avdiivka, making marginal gains.
Elsewhere on the battlefield, Russian forces continued with their localized offensive operations in the east along the Svatove-Kreminna line of contact, with particular focus on the northeast of Kupyansk. However, despite repeated assaults, the Russian military hasn’t managed to achieve anything significant there.
In the south, the Russian military continues to bolster its defensive fortifications in the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia provinces, while the Ukrainians are conducting probing attacks to determine vulnerabilities on the Russian lines.
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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 more than 1,800 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.
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 Tuesday, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense is claiming the following Russian casualties:
- 166,570 Russian troops killed (approximately three times that number wounded and captured)
- 6,879 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles destroyed
- 5,428 vehicles and fuel tanks
- 3,552 tanks
- 2,586 artillery pieces
- 2,167 tactical unmanned aerial systems
- 907 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses
- 507 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS)
- 305 fighter, attack, and transport jets
- 290 attack and transport helicopters
- 270 air defense systems
- 266 special equipment platforms, such as bridging equipment
- 18 boats and cutters
- four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems
On Tuesday, 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: Russian troops (Creative Commons)
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