It has been 317 days since the Russian invasion began. On Friday, the Russian forces have allegedly stopped fighting to observe a 36-hour ceasefire unilaterally initiated by the Kremlin.
Ceasefire and fighting
Despite the unilateral ceasefire, in the east, the fighting continues along the Kreminna-Svatove line. The Russian forces are conducting limited counterattacks in an attempt to regain lost positions. Meanwhile, the Ukrainian forces continue to push forward, trying to reach Kreminna and, from there, the key logistical hub of Svatove. The fall of the two towns would severely complicate the logistics of the Russian military in the east and the Donbas, restricting both offensive and defensive operations.
In the Donbas, the Ukrainian military continues to defend successfully around Bakhmut, even reclaiming some territory. The Russian offensive against the town is reaching its culmination point after more than six months and tens of thousands of casualties.
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 1,600 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.
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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 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 Friday, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense is claiming the following Russian casualties:
- 110,250 Russian troops killed (approximately three times that number wounded and captured)
- 6,124 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles destroyed
- 4,797 vehicles and fuel tanks
- 3,064 tanks
- 2,059 artillery pieces
- 1,844 tactical unmanned aerial systems
- 723 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses
- 431 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS)
- 285 fighter, attack, and transport jets
- 272 attack and transport helicopters
- 215 anti-aircraft batteries
- 182 special equipment platforms, such as bridging equipment
- 16 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 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 government troops in Donbas, September 2014. (FaceNews.ua/Wikimedia Commons)
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