It has been 223 days since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began. On Tuesday, the Ukrainian forces continue to make substantial gains both in the east and the south.
The Ukrainian counteroffensives continue
Over the past 24 hours, the Ukrainian forces have made significant gains around both Lyman in the east and northern Kherson in the south.
In the east, the Ukrainian forces are heading toward Kreminna, which is just east of Lyman. Farther in the north of Lyman, the Ukrainian forces have once more broken through the Russian defensive lines, threatening the stability of the Russian forces in the area.
In the south, the Ukrainian military has made significant gains in the northern part of Kherson province and is threatening the Russian defenses around the strategic city.
“Ukrainian forces have made substantial gains around Lyman and in northern Kherson Oblast over the last 24 hours. The Russian units defeated on these fronts were previously considered to be among Russia’s premier conventional fighting forces,” the Institute for the Study of War assessed in its latest operational update on the war.
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 1,100 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 50,000 casualties (killed and wounded) in the war so far.
In the summer, 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.
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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:
- 60,800 Russian troops killed (approximately three times that number wounded and captured)
- 5,018 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles destroyed
- 3,823 vehicles and fuel tanks
- 2,424 tanks
- 1,407 artillery pieces
- 1,028 tactical unmanned aerial systems
- 266 fighter, attack, and transport jets
- 340 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS)
- 228 attack and transport helicopters
- 246 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses
- 177 anti-aircraft batteries
- 131 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.
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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 Tuesday, Ukrainian forces continued to inflict the heaviest in the direction of Kramatorsk, which is located in the central Donbas, and in the vicinity of Bakhmut, in the south of the Donbas, which the Russian forces have been trying to capture for the past several months, and close to Kryvyi Rih.
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 in a recaptured town near Kherson. (Twitter via OSINTtechnical)
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