It has been 82 days since the Russian invasion began. On Monday, the Ukrainian military continues to advance in the east, pushing the Russian forces back. Ukrainian troops advancing from Kharkiv have reached the Russian border for the first time since the war began.
Kharkiv and Izium
The developments around Kharkiv are a testament to the Russian military’s shortcomings. The capture of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, was one of the main objectives of the Russian military when the invasion began on February 24. Despite a heavy and often indiscriminate shelling of the city, the Russian forces failed to surround and capture it.
Farther south, the strategic city of Izium remains in Russian hands. After Kharkiv, the Ukrainian forces are highly likely to focus their efforts on Izium because if they manage to wrestle control of the city from the Russians, the renewed Russian offensive in the Donbas will be in jeopardy. Meanwhile, a Russian offensive from Izium to Slovyansk failed.
In an updated estimate of the war, the Institute for the Study of War assessed that the Russian military will most likely focus its efforts in the fighting around Severodonetsk to the detriment of reaching the administrative borders of the Donetsk province.
“Russian forces have likely abandoned the objective of completing a large-scale encirclement of Ukrainian units from Donetsk City to Izyum in favor of completing the seizure of Luhansk Oblast,” the Institute for the Study of War stated.
In Mariupol, the last few Ukrainian defenders in the Azovstal steelworks plant continue to fight back.
“The enemy continues to storm the territory of the Azovstal plant. Throughout the 80th day of the full-scale invasion of the aggressor country, the occupier continues to drop air bombs on the defenders of Mariupol, continues to use heavy artillery and tanks, uses a large number of infantry to attempt to storm Ukrainian positions. Despite the extremely critical situation, the defenders, making superhuman efforts, repel attempts to break through the positions of defenders and deter the enemy troops,” the Azov Battalion, which is the last cohesive and combat effective unit in Mariupol, tweeted over the weekend.
In addition, it seems increasingly more certain that the Russian military is here to stay in Ukraine as Russian troops in occupied areas in the south are fortifying urban centers. In the strategic city of Kherson, reports indicate that the Russians are preparing a bogus referendum that would allow the city to secede from Ukraine and join Russia.
Meanwhile, 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.
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 600 Russian tanks, a statement that has been reaffirmed by the British Ministry of Defense. Same independent verification exists for the rest of the Ukrainian claims.
As of Monday, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense is claiming the following Russian casualties:
- 27,700 Russian troops killed (approximately three times that number wounded and captured)
- 2,974 armored personnel carriers destroyed
- 2,101 vehicles and fuel tanks
- 1,228 tanks
- 577 artillery pieces
- 427 unmanned aerial systems
- 200 fighter, attack, and transport jets
- 195 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS)
- 165 attack and transport helicopters
- 97 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses
- 89 anti-aircraft batteries
- 42 special equipment platforms, such as bridging equipment
- 13 boats and cutters
- four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems
Most of the latest Russian casualties took place around the Bachmut and Zaporizhzhia areas.
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