It has been 321 days since the Russian invasion began. On Tuesday, the Russian forces are making advances in the Donbas around Bakhmut.
Mercenaries from the infamous Wagner Group private military company have made tactical advances to the north of Bakhmut in the small town of Soledar. The Russian gains haven’t restricted the flow of supplies into Bakhmut, and the Ukrainian forces remain in control of the town.
In the east, both sides continue with their limited offensive operations along the Kreminna-Svatove line. The fighting there is mainly centered in a heavily forested area to the west of Kreminna. The Ukrainian counteroffensive is aided by partisans who are operating behind Russian lines, sabotaging the Russian lines of communication and supply, and attacking military targets of opportunity.
In the south, the Russian military continues to expand its fortifications in anticipation of a Ukrainian counteroffensive on the eastern bank of the Dnipro River.
Related: Sabotage targets: A saboteur’s guide to targeting an invading force
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.
Related: How Ukrainian soldiers are using drones to fight Russians on the ground
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:
- 112,470 Russian troops killed (approximately three times that number wounded and captured)
- 6,154 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles destroyed
- 4,817 vehicles and fuel tanks
- 3,084 tanks
- 2,073 artillery pieces
- 1,860 tactical unmanned aerial systems
- 723 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses
- 434 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS)
- 285 fighter, attack, and transport jets
- 275 attack and transport helicopters
- 217 anti-aircraft batteries
- 183 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: Wagner Group mercenaries in the Central African Republic earlier in 2022. Besides Ukraine, Wagner has deployed troops in a number of central and eastern African countries. (CorbeauNews)
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