It has been 301 days since the Russian invasion began. On Wednesday, the fighting on the ground continues in earnest as the two sides maneuver around the geopolitical chessboard.
Fighting and diplomacy
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is making a surprise lightning visit to the U.S. today, meeting with President Joe Biden and Congress. The Ukrainian leader is going to ask for more military assistance to keep the Ukrainian military fighting.
In the east, the Russian forces have been conducting limited counterattacks against the Ukrainian positions in an attempt to frustrate the ongoing Ukrainian offensive against Kreminna. The Ukrainian forces have been trying to breach the Russian defenses for around two months, but the Russians are resisting, constructing a secondary line of defense a few miles to the east around Svatove.
In the south, there isn’t much action going on. The Russian forces are constructing defensive lines in anticipation of a Ukrainian attack on the eastern bank of the Dnipro River. The Ukrainians, meanwhile, are continuing their long-range fires interdiction campaign against the Russian positions in an attempt to disrupt, degrade, and destroy their lines of communication and supply.
Most of the fighting takes place in the Donbas around the towns of Bakhmut and Avdiivka. The Russian forces have been trying to capture the towns for months now, but the Ukrainians have been resisting fiercely.
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.
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:
- 99,740 Russian troops killed (approximately three times that number wounded and captured)
- 5,979 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles destroyed
- 4,608 vehicles and fuel tanks
- 3,002 tanks
- 1,972 artillery pieces
- 1,688 tactical unmanned aerial systems
- 282 fighter, attack, and transport jets
- 412 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS)
- 267 attack and transport helicopters
- 653 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses
- 212 anti-aircraft batteries
- 178 special equipment platforms, such as bridging equipment
- 16 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 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: President Joe Biden walks with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and their interpreters along the West Colonnade of the White House, Wednesday, September 1, 2021, on their way to the State Dining Room for an expanded bilateral meeting. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz)
Read more from Sandboxx News
- Will Russia attack Ukraine’s new American Patriot missiles?
- The 5 strangest pieces of Russian equipment found in Ukraine
- Breaking out of a POW camp on a Russian helicopter
- Watch: Taliban pilot can’t fly an American Black Hawk helicopter and crashes it to the ground
- Europe has kicked out over 400 suspected Russian spies this year alone, British intelligence chief says