It has been 83 days since the Russian invasion began. On Tuesday, the Russian military has finally captured the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol after a brutal siege that lasted almost as long as the conflict has.
Other than that, there have been no major territorial gains in other sectors in the last 24 hours, with the two sides focused on a long-range fires battle.
On Monday night, the Ukrainian government came into an agreement with Moscow for the evacuation of several hundred wounded Ukrainian troops. According to the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense, 211 wounded Ukrainian troops were evacuated to Olenivka, which is occupied by the Russians, and 53 to Novoazovsk. It is suggested that the Ukrainian troops that were sent to Russian hospitals will be swapped for Russian prisoners of war.
Although both sides have signaled an end to the battle, it is still unclear if all the Ukrainian troops are being evacuated and not only the wounded ones.
The last Ukrainian forces had been holed up at the vast Azovstal steelworks plant.
“Regarding the situation in Mariupol. Thanks to the actions of the Ukrainian military – the Armed Forces of Ukraine, intelligence, the negotiating team, the International Committee of the Red Cross and the United Nations, we hope that we will be able to save the lives of our guys. Among them are the seriously wounded, they are being provided with medical aid,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in an address to the Ukrainian people on Monday night.
“I want to emphasize: Ukraine needs Ukrainian heroes alive. This is our principle. I think that every adequate person will understand these words. The operation to rescue the defenders of Mariupol was started by our military and intelligence officers. To bring the boys home, the work continues, and this work needs delicacy. And time,” the Ukrainian leader added.
Russian forces in Ukraine
According to the Pentagon, the Russian military has 106 operational battalion tactical groups inside Ukraine, an increase of about 10 since last week, which suggests that Moscow has either been refitting and reinforcing units that had participated in the operations around Kyiv or has been raising new units from its reserves.
Not all of these 106 operational battalion tactical groups are in the Donbas, where most of the fighting is taking place. The units are spread out in the three Russian military groupings (eastern, central, and southern). The eastern and central groupings have approximately 20 battalion tactical groups each, while the southern grouping has more than double that number with upwards of 50 battalion tactical groups.
A combined arms task force, the battalion tactical group is the main warfighting unit of the Russian military. It has between 800 and 1,000 troops and it is composed of a mix of armor, mechanized infantry, combat engineers, air defenses, artillery, and electronic warfare, depending on its role.
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 Tuesday, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense is claiming the following Russian casualties:
- 27,900 Russian troops killed (approximately three times that number wounded and captured)
- 3,009 armored personnel carriers destroyed
- 2,109 vehicles and fuel tanks
- 1,235 tanks
- 578 artillery pieces
- 436 unmanned aerial systems
- 201 fighter, attack, and transport jets
- 198 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS)
- 167 attack and transport helicopters
- 97 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses
- 90 anti-aircraft batteries
- 43 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 Lyman and Zaporizhzhia areas.