It has been 341 days since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began. On Monday, the operational stalemate on the ground continues but with fierce tactical fighting taking place around Bakhmut.
The situation around Bakhmut
Over the past few days, the Russian military has made small gains to the south of Bakhmut and is now directly threatening a key Ukrainian line of communication. The Russian forces have already advanced to the north of the town and captured Soledar, a small salt mining town, after weeks of fighting and extremely heavy losses. By no means are the Russian forces close to surrounding Bakhmut, but they are at least trying to set the conditions for that.
In the east, the fighting continues along the Svatove-Kreminna line. The Ukrainian forces have made some marginal gains in the direction of Kreminna but they are still far from capturing the town, which would lead them to the key logistical hub of Svatove further in the east.
In the south, the two militaries are engaged in skirmishes without any significant action taking place.
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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 1,600 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.
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.
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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:
- 126,650 Russian troops killed (approximately three times that number wounded and captured)
- 6,369 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles destroyed
- 5,041 vehicles and fuel tanks
- 3,201 tanks
- 2,196 artillery pieces
- 1,947 tactical unmanned aerial systems
- 796 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses
- 453 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS)
- 293 fighter, attack, and transport jets
- 284 attack and transport helicopters
- 221 anti-aircraft batteries
- 199 special equipment platforms, such as bridging equipment
- 18 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 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: Soldiers with the Ukrainian Land Forces enter and clear a room Jun. 4, 2016 during a squad live-fire exercise at the International Peacekeeping and Security Center as part of Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine. (U.S. Army photo by Capt. Russell M. Gordon, 10th Press Camp Headquarters
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