It has been 397 days since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began. On Monday, the Russian forces are stuck in Bakhmut.
After several weeks of heavy fighting in the east and the Donbas, the Russian large-scale offensive has lost much of its momentum.
Stalemate in Bakhmut
In the Donbas, the Russian offensive against the Ukrainian town of Bakhmut in the Donbas has largely stalled after more than eight months. The Russian military has been working with the Wagner Group private military company in the operation to take the town. But despite some recent progress that allowed the Russian forces to enter the town and capture its eastern part, the Russian offensive has stalled.
If it weren’t for the weather conditions and the mud from the thawing of the winter snow, it would be an ideal opportunity for the Ukrainian military to launch a counteroffensive around the town and try to encircle the outstretched Russian forces.
In the east, the Russian military continued with its limited ground assaults along the Svatove-Kreminna line of contact. There is heavy but localized fighting between the two sides for the forested territory that surrounds the two towns. The Russian military is trying to stabilize the frontline and push the Ukrainians back from the key logistical node of Svatove.
In the south, the situation remains largely the same with small-scale fighting along the Dnipro River. In addition, the Russian military continues to bolster its defenses in the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia provinces in anticipation of a large-scale Ukrainian counteroffensive.
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.
Related: Poland arrests Russian agents intending to sabotage Western arms shipments to Ukraine
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.
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 Monday, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense is claiming the following Russian casualties:
- 171,160 Russian troops killed (approximately three times that number wounded and captured)
- 6,953 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles destroyed
- 5,493 vehicles and fuel tanks
- 3,595 tanks
- 2,638 artillery pieces
- 2,216 tactical unmanned aerial systems
- 909 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses
- 523 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS)
- 305 fighter, attack, and transport jets
- 291 attack and transport helicopters
- 277 air defense systems
- 285 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: Ukrainian soldiers in a trench near Bakhmut. (UKRAINIAN SQUAD Twitter)
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