It has been 197 days since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began. On Thursday, the Ukrainian forces are pushing hard with their counteroffensives on two fronts.
The attack in the northeast
The Ukrainian counteroffensive in the northeast around Kharkiv has pushed the Russian military approximately 12 miles back and has recaptured about 155 square miles of territory. The Russian military is sending reinforcements to the region to stall or stop the Ukrainian counterattack, but it is unclear whether those reserves will be able to halt the Ukrainian forces.
Recent troop redeployments to the south to deal with the major Ukrainian counteroffensive there have left the Russian military will little reserves to play with. To make matters worse for Moscow’s war prospects, the Russian military has been suffering from a serious force generation issue that is starving frontline units of men.
The Institute for the Study of War assesses that the Ukrainian counteroffensive in the northeast is opportunistic and taking advantage of the Russian high command’s distraction with the Ukrainian counterattack in the south.
Meanwhile, in the south, the Ukrainian forces continue to push forward toward Kherson, at the same time using long-range strikes to further degrade the Russian defenses.
Related: HIMARS rockets alone won’t win the war for Ukraine
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 almost 1,000 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 up to 20,000 fatalities in the war so far. Sir Tony Radakin, the British Chief of the Defence Staff, recently 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.
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 Thursday, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense is claiming the following Russian casualties:
- 51,250 Russian troops killed (approximately three times that number wounded and captured)
- 4,557 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles destroyed
- 3,344 vehicles and fuel tanks
- 2,112 tanks
- 1,226 artillery pieces
- 884 tactical unmanned aerial systems
- 239 fighter, attack, and transport jets
- 305 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS)
- 210 attack and transport helicopters
- 214 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses
- 159 anti-aircraft batteries
- 110 special equipment platforms, such as bridging equipment
- 15 boats and cutters
- four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems
For most of May, the Russian military suffered the greatest casualties around the Slovyansk, Kryvyi Rih, and Zaporizhzhia areas, reflecting the heavy fighting that was going on there. As the days and weeks went on, most of the heavy fighting shifted toward the direction of Bakhmut, southeast of Slovyansk, around Severodonetsk, Lyman, and Lysychansk.
Then the location of the heaviest casualties shifted again westwards toward the area of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia — where one of Europe’s largest nuclear plants is located — as a result of a Ukrainian counteroffensive in and around the area.
Then, the concentration of casualties once more shifted back to the Donbas, especially in and around Severodonetsk and Lysychansk, the two urban centers the Russians managed to capture in July. For most of August, the heaviest fighting took place in the Donbas, where the Russian forces unsuccessfully tried to breach the Ukrainian defenses and capture the Donetsk province. But lately, most of the fighting has shifted to the south where the Ukrainian military is mounting a major counteroffensive to recapture Kherson. It is now there, on the southern front, that the Russian military is suffering the heaviest casualties.
On Thursday, Ukrainian forces continued to inflict the heaviest casualties in the direction of Donetsk City.
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: Captured Russian T-80BVM and T-80BV used by 93rd Mechanized Brigade of the Ukrainian Army (93rd Mechanized Brigade of the Ukrainian Army)
J santos says
It’s the classic Empire of Lies!
One can always tell when a story is BS propaganda. There will be big numbers of dead, captured, and destroyed one side, and none for the other. You fit that perfectly