It has been 307 days since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began. On Tuesday, the two sides are trading blows around Bakhmut in anticipation of future counteroffensives all across the battlefield.
A tour of the battlefield
In the east, both sides are conducting limited offensive operations along the Svatove-Kreminna line of contact. The Ukrainian forces are getting closer to Kreminna, having fought their way to the outskirts of the town. However, the Russian military continues to be in firm control of the town itself.
In the Donbas, the back and forth around Bakhmut continues in earnest. The Russian forces have made some limited gains in the northeast of the town, but the Ukrainian forces continue to hold fast and be in full control of the town and the lines of supply and communication that link it to the Ukrainian logistical hubs.
The Russian forces are also conducting ground attacks from the western outskirts of Donetsk City, the capital of the Donetsk province and in control of Moscow since 2014.
In the south, nothing has really changed as neither side is powerful enough to cross the Dnipro River in force.
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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.
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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 Tuesday, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense is claiming the following Russian casualties:
- 103,220 Russian troops killed (approximately three times that number wounded and captured)
- 6,024 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles destroyed
- 4,652 vehicles and fuel tanks
- 3,016 tanks
- 1,998 artillery pieces
- 1,707 tactical unmanned aerial systems
- 283 fighter, attack, and transport jets
- 418 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS)
- 267 attack and transport helicopters
- 653 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses
- 212 anti-aircraft batteries
- 179 special equipment platforms, such as bridging equipment
- 16 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 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 soldiers conduct urban operations, during Rapid Trident 2021, September 2021. (Photo by Staff Sgt. David Carnahan/U.S. Army)
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