It has been 384 days since the Russian invasion began. On Tuesday, the Ukrainian military has stabilized the situation in and around Bakhmut.
Stabilizing the front
After a handful of days of Russian advances in and around Bakhmut, the Ukrainian military has managed to stop the Russian push.
To be sure, the situation continues to be extremely precarious. The Russian forces have advanced deep into the town and have also captured territory to its north and south. The Ukrainian lines of communication and supply that lead into Bakhmut are under fire. Led by the Wagner Group private military company, Russian forces have been trying to encircle the Ukrainian positions but with no success as yet.
Despite all this, the Ukrainian leadership continues to hold onto Bakhmut as the city has been drawing tens of thousands of Russian troops, which could have been attacking elsewhere.
In the east, the Russian forces continue to launch localized assaults against the Ukrainian positions along the Svatove-Kreminna line of contact. The Russian military has been making some marginal gains but nothing that could be interpreted as an operational breakthrough.
In the south, the Ukrainian military continues to launch special operations raids on small islands on the eastern bank of the Dnipro River in Kherson. Compared to the other fronts, the south is relatively quiet.
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.
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.
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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 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 Tuesday, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense is claiming the following Russian casualties:
- 160,540 Russian troops killed (approximately three times that number wounded and captured)
- 6,789 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles destroyed
- 5,367 vehicles and fuel tanks
- 3,484 tanks
- 2,519 artillery pieces
- 2,120 tactical unmanned aerial systems
- 907 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses
- 495 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS)
- 304 fighter, attack, and transport jets
- 289 attack and transport helicopters
- 260 air defense systems
- 256 special equipment platforms, such as bridging equipment
- 18 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 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 troops (Ukrainian Squad Twitter)
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