It has been 394 days since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began. On Friday, the Russian forces are pushing hard in the east while the fight for the town of Bakhmut continues.
The campaign in the east
In September, the Ukrainian military caught the Russians and the world by surprise with its dashing counteroffensive around Kharkiv in the east. In a matter of just a few days, the Ukrainian forces liberated hundreds of square miles of territory and recaptured key towns, including Lyman, Izium, and Kupyansk, while also firmly securing the area around Kharkiv, the country’s second-largest city.
Subsequent counteroffensive operations brought the Ukrainian military to the outskirts of Kreminna and close to Svatove. The two towns, but especially Svatove, are key logistical nodes.
In recent weeks, the Russian military has launched a number of localized counterattacks, succeeding in reclaiming some of the lost territory.
In the Donbas, the Russian forces continue to push hard in Bakhmut and Avdiivka but without much success.
In the south, the Russian military is working on its defenses in anticipation of a Ukrainian counteroffensive, while the Ukrainian military is conducting raids with special operations troops along the bank of the Dnipro River.
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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.
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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:
- 169,170 Russian troops killed (approximately three times that number wounded and captured)
- 6,921 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles destroyed
- 5,464 vehicles and fuel tanks
- 3,574 tanks
- 2,616 artillery pieces
- 2,208 tactical unmanned aerial systems
- 909 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses
- 511 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS)
- 305 fighter, attack, and transport jets
- 290 attack and transport helicopters
- 276 air defense systems
- 277 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: Russian soldiers in Ukraine (Twitter)
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