It has been 336 days since the Russian invasion began. On Wednesday, the fighting across the battlefield continues to be small-scale.
Meanwhile, NATO has finally overcome its internal disagreements and has agreed to provide Ukraine with large numbers of M1 Abrams and Leopard 2 main battle tanks. Ukraine was “trolling” the U.S. and Germany for months but has finally succeeded in getting what will help its troops on the ground.
In the east, the Russian forces continued with limited counterattacks along the Kreminna-Svatove line while the Ukrainian military keeps pushing toward Kreminna. The Ukrainian forces are on the outskirts of the city but are still struggling to reach it in force. Nothing significant has changed on this front since December.
In the Donbas, the Russian forces continued with their assaults in the direction of Bakhmut, Avdiivka, and Donetsk City. Moscow achieved some marginal gains on the outskirts of Bakhmut but isn’t any closer to capturing the town than it was yesterday.
In the south, the fighting is starting again with localized ground fighting in Zaporizhzhia province. Both sides have amassed large forces in the area but have yet to launch a large-scale offensive.
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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.
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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 Wednesday, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense is claiming the following Russian casualties:
- 123,080 Russian troops killed (approximately three times that number wounded and captured)
- 6,307 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles destroyed
- 4,967 vehicles and fuel tanks
- 3,161 tanks
- 2,154 artillery pieces
- 1,902 tactical unmanned aerial systems
- 749 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses
- 450 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS)
- 290 fighter, attack, and transport jets
- 281 attack and transport helicopters
- 220 anti-aircraft batteries
- 194 special equipment platforms, such as bridging equipment
- 18 boats and cutters
- four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems
On Wednesday, 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: An M1 Abrams Main Battle Tank fires during Qualification testing on Fort Hood, Texas, July, 14, 2022. Every tank crew must qualify to ensure proficiency in regards to their weapon system. (U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Jacob Nunnenkamp)
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