It has been 292 days since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began. On Tuesday, the Ukrainian military is getting ready to continue its counteroffensive operations once the winter sets in.
The winter has started, and it has been affecting the operational situation on the ground. In November, rains and sleet turned the battlefield into a quagmire, resembling the conditions on the Western Front during World War I. Despite these conditions, the two militaries kept at it and conducted limited offensive operations, especially in the area around Bakhmut, Advika, and Pavlivka in the Donbas.
Now, however, the ground is about to freeze, as usually happens at the end of the year. A hard ground would enable Ukraine to conduct mobile offensive operations beyond major transportation routes. The Ukrainians have already proven adept at operating cross-country.
Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov recently stated that the Ukrainian military intends to continue with its counteroffensive operations in the east and south over the winter.
On the other hand, the Russians are hoping for a lull in the fighting during the winter so that they can regroup and refit their forces in anticipation of the spring fighting season.
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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:
- 95,260 Russian troops killed (approximately three times that number wounded and captured)
- 5,930 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles destroyed
- 4,549 vehicles and fuel tanks
- 2,966 tanks
- 1,931 artillery pieces
- 1617 tactical unmanned aerial systems
- 281 fighter, attack, and transport jets
- 404 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS)
- 264 attack and transport helicopters
- 592 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses
- 211 anti-aircraft batteries
- 170 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: A well-camouflaged Ukrainian three-men anti-tank team moving on foot in a winter maneuver, carrying Stugna-P anti-tank guided missile system and AK-74 assault rifles in 2021. (Wikimedia Commons via ArmyInform.com.ua)
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