It has been 285 days since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began. On Monday, the Russian forces continue to push hard against Bakhmut in the Donbas.
Fierce fighting for Bakhmut
The Russian forces around Bakhmut continue to push toward the city, especially in the south and north. But the Russian gains have been minimal and the costs extremely high.
Indeed, according to the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense, since November, the Russian military has lost almost 20,000 men killed, with the majority of the casualties taking place in the Donbas around Bakhmut. Fresh batches of mobilized reservists and mercenaries from the infamous Wagner Group make up most of the Russian fighting force in the area.
Elsewhere in the east, the Ukrainian forces continue with their counteroffensive operation against Kreminna and Svatove, but the mud is inhibiting mobile offensive operations.
In the south, nothing changed as the Russian force continued to fortify their positions on the eastern bank of the Dnipro River in anticipation of a Ukrainian amphibious assault.
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:
- 91,690 Russian troops killed (approximately three times that number wounded and captured)
- 5,900 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles destroyed
- 4,497 vehicles and fuel tanks
- 2,924 tanks
- 1,914 artillery pieces
- 1,582 tactical unmanned aerial systems
- 280 fighter, attack, and transport jets
- 395 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS)
- 264 attack and transport helicopters
- 531 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses
- 211 anti-aircraft batteries
- 163 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: A BMP-2 provides support by fire to Ukrainian infantry during a platoon live-fire on June 23, 2016 at the International Peacekeeping and Security Center near Yavoriv, Ukraine as part of Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine. (U.S. Army photo by Major Scott Kuhn)
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