It has been 116 days since the Russian invasion began. On Sunday, the Russian military is pushing in the Donbas but hasn’t achieved any major gains. Severodonetsk remains contested, while the Ukrainian forces are keeping up the pressure in southern Ukraine, where they have launched a counteroffensive.
The fighting in the Donbas
The Russian military has made some gains in Severodonetsk but has failed to capture the key Ukrainian city. The Russian forces have also launched renewed attempts to cut off the Ukrainian lines of communications farther southwest by using long-range fires and ground assault in the vicinity and direction of Bakhmut and Lysychansk
“The Russian army is preparing a large-scale offensive to capture [the] Luhansk region. Occupants have thrown all their reserves into the Severodonetsk and Bakhmut directions, trying to establish full control over the regional center and to ‘cut off’ the Lysychansk-Bakhmut highway,” Serhiy Hayday, the head of Luhansk’s regional administration, said on Twitter.
Meanwhile, the Pentagon has released a list breaking down the equipment given so far to Ukraine by the United States.
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 almost 800 Russian tanks; this assessment has been confirmed by the British Ministry of Defense.
The same independent verification exists for most of the other Ukrainian claims. Only 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 20,000 fatalities in the war so far.
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 Sunday, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense is claiming the following Russian casualties:
- 33,600 Russian troops killed (approximately three times that number wounded and captured)
- 3,577 armored personnel carriers destroyed
- 2,523 vehicles and fuel tanks
- 1,468 tanks
- 745 artillery pieces
- 598 tactical unmanned aerial systems
- 216 fighter, attack, and transport jets
- 235 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS)
- 181 attack and transport helicopters
- 130 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses
- 98 anti-aircraft batteries
- 55 special equipment platforms, such as bridging equipment
- 14 boats and cutters
- four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems
Over the past weeks, the rate of Russian casualties has slowed down significantly despite continuous pressure and offensive operations in the Donbas. This suggests two things: First, the Russian commanders are taking a more cautious approach to their offensive operations, fully utilizing combined arms warfare to achieve their goals; and second, the Ukrainian forces are running out of combat power or ammunition — and this is expected after over three months of war against the Russian military. Recent reports from the ground suggest that both of these factors are true, and that the fatigue of warfare is catching up on both sides.
For most of the last month, 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 went on, most of the heavy fighting shifted toward the direction of Bakhmut, southeast of Slovyansk, around Severodonetsk, a key Ukrainian town, and Lyman.
Then the location of the heaviest casualties shifted again westwards toward the area of Zaporizhzhia —where one of Europe’s largest nuclear plants is located — as a result of a Ukrainian counteroffensive in and around the area.
On Sunday, Ukrainian forces inflicted the heaviest casualties in the vicinity of Bakhmut, where the Russian forces are trying to advance and cut off Severodonetsk from the rear, and in the direction of Zaporizhzhia, where the Ukrainian forces are mounting a counteroffensive.
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.
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