t has been 387 days since the Russian invasion began. On Friday, the fighting on the ground continues as attention is focused on Bakhmut.
The war goes on
The Russian offensive in and around Bakhmut is losing steam. After a few days of significant progress — at least for the standards that the Russian forces have established thus far in the war — the Russian assault against the Ukrainian town has slowed down.
Yet, the situation remains difficult for the Ukrainian defenders who are under fire from three different sides (north, south, and east) and their lines of communication and supply are under threat.
In the east, the Russian forces are trying to push the Ukrainian forces back along the Svatove-Kreminna line of contact but with little success.
The situation in the south remains the same. The Russian forces continue to work on their fortifications in anticipation of a large-scale Ukrainian counteroffensive. On the other side, the Ukrainian military continues to use long-range fires to target and take out targets of opportunity.
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.
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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 Friday, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense is claiming the following Russian casualties:
- 163,320 Russian troops killed (approximately three times that number wounded and captured)
- 6,823 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles destroyed
- 5,401 vehicles and fuel tanks
- 3,506 tanks
- 2,552 artillery pieces
- 2,145 tactical unmanned aerial systems
- 907 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses
- 504 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS)
- 305 fighter, attack, and transport jets
- 290 attack and transport helicopters
- 265 air defense systems
- 258 special equipment platforms, such as bridging equipment
- 18 boats and cutters
- four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems
On Friday, 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: A Ukrainian soldier (Malinda Twitter)
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